There are two basic kinds of seals: True seals and eared or fur seals. True seals live in the frigid waters near the Arctic and Antarctic. These seals have thin skin with plenty of blubber to keep them warm. Eared seals are furred seals and need that fur for their warmth. They live in the ocean between Asia and the Pacific Northwest. They also live off the coasts of South America, Antarctica, southwestern Africa and southern Australia. One more hitch: Fur seals and sea lions are more closely related than true seals and fur seals. Of the pictures I’ve gathered, I’m honestly not sure whether those seals with ears are fur seals or sea lions. See what you think. 

This is a wonderful 2-minute video featuring a seal pup’s first swimming lesson. The pup is 2 weeks old. Here’s a 3-minute video featuring the enormous elephant seal. Here’s a 1-minute video showing a 2-month-old, 200-pound baby elephant seal looking for affection from a tourist. 

FunFacts about Seals: (Source) (Source)  

  • A seal is a pinniped as are walruses and sea lions.
  • Basic Information, quote: Pinnipeds, commonly known as seals, are a widely distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals. There are 33 extant species of pinnipeds, and more than 50 extinct species have been described from fossils. Pinnipeds belong to the order Carnivora and their closest living relatives are bears and musteloids (weasels, raccoons, skunks, and red pandas), having diverged about 50 million years ago. (Source)
  • Pinnipeds include walruses, the eared seal (sea lions and fur seals) and the earless or true seal.
  • Pinniped means ‘fin-footed’.
  • The rear flippers of true seals point backwards so on land they move with an undulating up-and-down motion.
  • Fur seals and sea lions can rotate their back feet and use them to walk with some speed.
  • True seals have thin skin and use blubber to keep themselves warm while eared seals have thick fur to keep themselves warm.
  • There are 18 species of true seals.
  • The biggest ‘elephant seal’ males can get 20 feet long while the small ‘ringed seal’ male averages only 5 feet.
  • There are 16 species of eared seals.
  • True seals live in the cold ocean waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. Some seals will make snow caves to live in, others stick around the ice pack and poke breathing holes in the ice.
  • Eared seals live in the Northern Atlantic between Asia and the Pacific Northwest, and off the coasts of South America, Antarctica, southwestern Africa and southern Australia. They can spend up to two years in open waters before returning to breeding grounds.
  • Seals generally prey on fish, but will also eat squid, octopus, eels and lobster. Some seals eat penguins and other smaller seals.
  • Male seals will often battle for the right to mate in various areas. The winner will mate with up to 50 females. Males take up to 8 years to grow strong enough to win these dominance fights.
  • Gestation of the pups is around 10 months.
  • Most seals are not on the endangered species lists.
  • Weddell seals can stay underwater for as long as 80 minutes.

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42 thoughts on “Seals

  1. I knew that elephant seals were big, but I had no idea that they could be up to 20 feet long! I just looked at some comparison pictures and they make the people look tiny!

  2. They are so freaking ADORABLE! My daughter is a massive animal lover and she’s only 8yrs old. When she seen the picture, she started giving me tons of information(too much lol).

  3. The babies are cute but when they get big they are so ugly they are cute – lol. Remember me saying that my daughter collected stiluffed penguins, well the oldest collects stuffed seals. We love sea animals. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Seals have such sweet faces. I was watching shark week on Discovery Channel and I was so sad every time one was eaten by a whale, or shark!

  5. What wonderful videos. How could you not find them cute. I would be very leery of the elephant seal though. In Pigeon Forge the user to be a place that was called Porpoise Island many many moons ago. They had seals there also but it was so smelly you couldn’t stay near them long. The pictures are adorable especially the reddish brown looking one. They have such cute little faces.

    • Ok. Sorry for 2 post. The first one would never load so I had to do the second one. Then it post the 1st .,when I do the 2nd one. Arrrgggg.

  6. The videos were awesome . The elephant seal I’d be leery of. The seals do have such cute little faces you just can’t help but love them. Glad the baby seal didn’t squish the lady it crawled upon in the video. Give never seen any out in nature just zoos and aquariums. Is it the true seal that has the white coat on it ? Terrible people kill the sweet little things.

  7. I disliked being a downer, but when I see baby seals all I can think of is that documentary I saw when I was a girl, where baby white seals we’re clubbed to death in front of their mothers. All for their fur. I had nightmares for years. The screaming of the pups & their mothers was horrible.

    It’s the event that turned me into an extreme animal activist.

  8. They famously had grey seals to greet visitors to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. When it opened, the then-mayor went swimming with the seals for publicity. He was instrumental to the construction and revitalization of the Inner Harbor, and he had his own set of keys to the aquarium so he could visit the seals whenever he wanted. And, he did.

    I have seen seals or sea lions perform in water shows at amusement parks.

    denise from maryland

  9. Enjoyed the pictures and videos. Who knew there are that many species of seals. Loved the picture with the baby with the mother. They have such cute faces who wouldn’t love them!! Az

  10. I love all of the photos! I think seals are among the most adorable animals! It would be awesome to have the opportunity to see one up close! They seem to be so full of personality! (Maine girl)

  11. Lovely. Thanks for the info.
    I remember seeing the seals and walrus at the Brooklyn Aquarium in NY with my grandmother, what a treat that was.

  12. Love seals ,live in Seattle wa. We can hear them in ballard all the time. Another place to go is sea lion cave in or.

  13. Loved the pictures. We always enjoy going to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and watch the sea lions there. They have taken over a number of docks. The Parks Department have installed benches so the visitors can sit and enjoy these wonderful creatures.

  14. We have sea lions along the west coast. During mating season they get really loud and they do smell. Very neat creatures to watch while in San Francisco.

  15. The video with the baby elephant seal broke my heart. I understand why she was told to not touch it; however, all that baby wanted was a little affection and reassurance it was ok. Isn’t that what all of us need? Someone to tell us we’re cared for and we’ll be fine? I know I certainly need that.

    Peg from Indiana

  16. These seals are the cutest. My favorite pic is the one with the seal laying on it’s side like it’s posing for the picture

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