Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) are the only mammal that dares to swim long distances under sea ice, traveling up to 20 kilometers in hour-long bursts as they scan for air holes and an eventual exit somewhere in the midst of vast Antarctic sheets.
There, mothers give birth so that their pups will be safe from leopard seals and killer whales. But how do those pups learn to navigate the risky underwater terrain so quickly? They’re born with big brains, according to a study published online and in an upcoming issue of Marine Mammal Science…
Following the recent sighting of a walrus on the Orkney Islands a few weeks ago, a bearded seal, usually only found in the Arctic, has appeared on Shetland.The bearded seal has been seen intermittently over the last week or so, mostly near the salmon farm in Basta Voe, on the island of Yell…
A bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) resting on melting sea ice beneath storm clouds in Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Norway. The bearded seal is one of the two species of far-north seals that are victims of disappearing sea ice and dwindling snowpack in their Arctic habitat, and will be granted protections under the US Endangered Species Act, federal officials announced.
This adorable newborn harp seal was left alone on sea-ice in Canada on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. At about three weeks old, the young pup was weaned but not quite ready to head out on its own, leaving it very vulnerable to predation.
“Every March, up to 200,000 harp seal pups are born on sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 2011, storms and lack of ice-cover due to a warmer winter climate resulted in hundreds of seal pups being washed up on the shore of Prince Edward Island. Like many, this young seal faced an uncertain future. Nearly three weeks old, it was weaned but not yet ready to swim on its own, leaving it vulnerable to predation or drowning. For me, this image expresses the vulnerability of not only this individual, but the entire harp seal population.”
Seals and sea lions have many similarities, and are in the same family, the Pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives. Seals are generally smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can “walk” on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. Another give-away is that sea lions have external ear flaps, whereas seals don’t have external ears—if you look closely you can see tiny ear holes.
This Rare Fucking Seal Climbs onto Seattle Woman’s Dock
by Andrea Mustain
A Seattle resident recently got a big surprise when she discovered a strange-looking furry visitor on her property.
“She woke up and it was lying on her dock, hanging out and sleeping — just chilling,” said Matthew Cleland, district supervisor in western Washington for the USDA’s Wildlife Services, and the recipient of a photo of the bizarre intruder.
A leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) is seen in the port of Talcahuano near Concepcion city, some 311 miles south of Santiago, Chile, on August 24, 2012. The leopard seal from Antarctica was brought to a rescue center for marine animals after she was found injured, presumably hit by a small boat.
(via: TakePart.org) (Photo: Jose Luis Saavedra/Reuters)
Shark-eating seal among rare and ridiculously stunning scenes documented off South Africa
By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com
Chris and Monique Fallows have witnessed many extraordinary events while diving off South Africa.
But during two recent expeditions they captured wildly spectacular scenes that may never have been photographed: that of a voracious cape fur seal boldly snacking on large sharks; and dozens of blue sharks gathered around and gorging on an enormous ball of bait fish.
Of the former event, revealing the raw dynamics of the food chain, Chris Fallows said: “There were eight guests aboard our vessel, many of them seasoned wildlife enthusiasts. None had ever seen anything like this as sharks of this size are certainly not usually considered food for seals.
“In more than 2,000 expeditions working with sharks over the last 21 years, this is the only time I have ever seen a seal kill several sharks and I can find no record of such an event happening elsewhere.”
The seal consumed the stomach and livers of the first two sharks, before killing three others…
The largest of all seal species, the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) is found in chilly Antarctic and Subantarctic waters. The male seals dive as deep as 1,430 m (over 4,600 ft) and stay at depth for up to two hours.