Seal types are an important part of any marine biologist’s education. They are a great way to get acquainted with the animals and plants that live in our oceans. The different types of seals have very different lifestyles. We will take a look at each one and learn a little about their behaviors. After that, we will see how these behaviors can be used to classify and identify different species of seals.
Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals on earth. It’s also the only member of its genus. The name “Monk” comes from the friar’s cowl-like hood that resembles the habits of a religious order. The scientific name for this animal is Monachus Monachus.
This seal is found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). There are only an estimated 400-500 individuals left in the wild. In fact, the population is declining so rapidly that scientists consider it to be on the verge of extinction.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
These gentle creatures weigh only 11 to 15 pounds and measure 2 to 3 feet long. They have a dark gray or blackish coat with a lighter-colored underside. The Hawaiian monk seal is a nocturnal animal that spends much of its time submerged in the ocean.
It is one of only two species of seals that are true carnivores. The other is the African fur seal. Both of these animals are found in warm waters around the world. The Hawaiian monk seal is the smallest of the two and the only one that occurs in tropical Pacific waters. It is the largest of all the seals and it is the only one that is endangered. This seal has a very low reproductive rate and there are only about 3,500 of them left.
Northern Elephant Seal
The northern elephant seal is the largest member of the sea lion family. These large marine mammals are often found basking in the sun on the open ocean. They are extremely territorial and will attack and even kill any other elephant seals that happen to wander into their area.
Northern elephant seals have a thick, dark brown to black skin which varies in color from individual to individual. Their bodies are covered with large, dark brown to black spots. The seal’s head is white with a black, horseshoe-shaped marking around the eyes. The seal has a short, stubby nose and a long, pointed, wrinkled snout. It has a large, flat upper jaw, a small, triangular lower jaw, and a mouth that is lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth.
Southern Elephant Seal
The southern elephant seal is the largest pinniped (seal) in the world. It has a body mass of up to 2,000 pounds and a nose-to-tail length of 7-feet. The southern elephant seal is found in warm waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean and is not an oceanic species. It inhabits rocky and coral reefs at depths of 30 to 200 feet.
This seal is a nocturnal hunter that feeds mainly on squid and other small marine animals. Like other pinnipeds, the southern elephant seal gives birth to a single pup every two years. The gestation period is about 11 months. The southern elephant seal is a seasonal breeders, with mating season occurring from December to April. Females give birth between May and August.
Southern elephant seals are highly social animals. They travel in tight-knit groups called “herds”. These herds can contain as many as 150 individuals. Herds are led by a dominant bull seal and are very protective of their members.
A ross seal is a small, furry mammal that lives in the Arctic Ocean. It has a thick, dark-colored coat of fur and is covered with white spots. It has a long bushy tail which acts as a third leg. The ross seal is one of the few mammals that spends the winter months at sea.
These seals have excellent eyesight and hearing. They use these senses to locate prey such as fish and invertebrates. They also use their sense of smell to find food. Their sense of taste isn’t too important because they get their nutrition from eating mostly invertebrates.
The ross seal’s diet consists mainly of shrimp, crabs, and other small animals it catches with its powerful jaws. It also eats a lot of seaweed and blubber. When the weather gets colder, the seals begin to hibernate on the ice floes. During this time, they sleep for about 20 hours per day.
A female will give birth to a litter of two to four pups in the spring.
A crab-eater seal is an animal that eats crabs and other shellfish. Seals are carnivorous mammals that spend nearly all their lives in the water. Their diet consists almost entirely of mollusks (shellfish) and crustaceans (crabs and shrimp).
Crab-eaters have long, extremely sensitive whisker-like appendages on either side of their snouts. These appendages are called “whiskers” and they are extremely sensitive to changes in water currents and vibrations. When a crab-eater seal detects movement in the water, it uses its whiskers to locate the source of the disturbance and then to pinpoint the direction from which the food is coming.
Crab-eaters use their whiskers to detect food, but they also use them to communicate with each other. They use these appendages to identify themselves as belonging to their own group and to establish and maintain social hierarchy.
The leopard seal is the world’s largest land carnivore. It can weigh up to 400 pounds and measure up to 6 feet long. These animals spend nearly all their time in the water, but they are extremely adept at coming ashore when they need to hunt for food.
Leopard seals are active year round, but they are most active between May and September. These are the months when they are molting, a process where they shed their old fur in order to grow a new one. This is why you may see leopard seals on land with an unkempt coat of fur.
Leopard seals are scavengers and will eat almost anything that is dead or dying. They are opportunistic feeders and won’t starve even if their food source is scarce. They have been known to eat clams, octopi, squid, sea urchins, starfish, abalone, crabs, and even small fish.
They are also very curious and will investigate just about anything that is strange or new. This curiosity sometimes gets them into trouble though.
A Weddell seal is a pudgy, fur-covered mammal that lives in the icy waters of the world. It has a thick, furry coat of dark brown or black hair with a lighter colored undercoat. The fur on its face and throat is white or light yellowish. The rest of its body is covered with a thick layer of dark brown or black fur. This animal gets its name from Sir James Weddell, an early 19th century British explorer who was the first person to sight this creature.
Weddell seals are found in the ice-infested waters around Antarctica. They are named for the explorer Weddell because he was the first to document their existence. Seals are quite shy and rarely come ashore. When they do, it is usually to bask in the sun or to give birth.
These animals are extremely social and will frequently huddle together while sleeping on the ice. They have been known to travel long distances across the ice in search of other Weddell seals to huddle with for warmth.
The bearded seal is a member of the dog family, but it is not a dog. It is an Arctic marine mammal with a thick, furry, black beard. This unique characteristic gives the animal its name.
The bearded seal is one of the smallest of the seal species. It has a body length of about 33 inches (83 cm) and a weight of about 1 ½ – 2 pounds (680 – 907 g). The head and body length is about 23 inches (58 cm), while the tail is about 10 inches (25 cm). Its short legs and webbed feet enable it to move with great speed when necessary. The seal is an excellent swimmer and can remain underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time.
The diet of the bearded seal consists mostly of fish, which it catches with its flippers. The other food items include seaweed, crabs, and sometimes octopus and squid. The bearded seal is active year-round in the Arctic Ocean, but it is most active during the summer months. During this time, it is on the move, searching for food and mating partners.
A hooded seal is a marine mammal that has a dark-colored, furry hood that completely covers its head and face. The hood is attached to a long, thick neck. The seal’s body is covered with a dense, black or dark brown coat of fur. This fur is usually shaggy and looks like an overgrown, curly version of a sheep’s wool.
The seal’s flippers are webbed and it has a large, webbed tail that helps propel the animal when it is swimming. Seals have a flat, broad nose and small ears that stick up from the sides of their heads. Their eyes are set close together on either side of their head.
Hooded seals are found in all the oceans around the world. They are one of the few mammals that spend almost all of their time in the water. They are true aquatic animals. When they are on land, they remain near the water’s edge. They are very active at all times and they are rarely seen sleeping on land. Seals are not fast or particularly strong.
A harbor seal is a large sea mammal that is part of the family Phocidae. Harbor seals are black or dark gray in color and grow to lengths of up to 3 feet long. Their bodies are covered with a thick, soft, brownish-black fur. The head of a harbor seal is very distinct from the rest of the body.
It is also darker in color. This gives the head of a harbor seal a reddish cast. The ears of a harbor seal are very large and stick up high on the head. These are the tell-tale sign of a harbor seal.
The whiskers on a harbor seal are very long and flow down past the eyes. The eyes of a harbor seal are large and dark brown in color. The whiskers and the eyes give a seal a very alert and watchful appearance. Harbor seals are very inquisitive and will approach and investigate just about anything that floats in the water. They are especially curious about boats and often will investigate them closely.
The spotted seal is a large sea mammal that is found off the coasts of both the United States and Canada. This seal is known for its spotted fur which ranges in color from dark brown to reddish-brown. The spotted seal has a thick, bushy tail that is covered with black spots. It also has a long, prehensile (grasping) nose that it uses to browse on sea grasses and other vegetation near the water’s surface.
The spotted seal can reach a length of up to 4 feet and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. It has a large, rounded head with small, circular eyes that are surrounded by a white ring. Its ears are small and are covered with a light-colored skin. The spotted seal is a true marine mammal that spends most of its time in or near the ocean. It comes ashore only to breed. Females give birth to one pup every two years. The pups are weaned at about three months old and are independent from their mother at five months old.
What Do Seals Eat?
Seals are carnivores, which means that they eat only meat. Seals eat fish, squid, octopus, and eels. They also eat large crustaceans such as crayfish and crabs. They will even eat clams, mussels, and oysters if they are forced to. But mostly, seals eat fish. Seals are opportunistic hunters. That means they will eat almost anything that is edible.
What should I do if I see a seal?
Seeing a seal is always exciting, but remember that seals are wild animals. Keep your distance! It is illegal to approach, disturb or feed any wild animal. If you decide to approach a seal, keep in mind that they are very sensitive to disturbance.
How can I help seals?
There are many ways you can help seals in your community. Avoid feeding marine mammals. Do not feed seals at the beach! Feeding wild animals encourages them to approach humans and makes them dependent on humans for food.
Seals are usually found in the ocean. They help protect the creatures that live in the sea. These creatures need the protection of these amazing creatures so they can live and reproduce.
Even though seals are amazing animals, many people hunt them just for their fur which is used to make expensive coats and other types of clothing. This is really bad for the seals because humans are the ones who decide whether these animals live or die.
Seals are an important part of the ocean ecosystem and we should try to protect them as much as possible. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will now understand why seals are important and you will do whatever you can to protect them!