Seals

Pregnancy planning 101: lessons from seals’ embryonic diapause

For humans, pregnancy is generally predictable: boy meets girl, *you know what happens*, an embryo is implanted, and nine months later, a baby is born. In the seal world, things are a bit different. Seal boy meets seal girl, they do their business, but an embryo does not always immediately get implanted. By pausing their …

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The Leopard Seal – September 2021

Welcome to our new “whale of the month,” the leopard seal. This muscular seal has a large reptilian-like head and is the third-largest pinniped in the world. This Antarctic seal has also been featured in a TikTok video on a beach in South Australia, a couple of days ago. Whether you came here from TikTok …

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Count grey seal pups to estimate the quality of the Baltic Sea’s food web

Did you know that you could assess the health of the Baltic sea by simply counting the number of grey seal pups? We explain to you how it works in this post. The Baltic Sea, between salt and freshwater The Baltic Sea is a little arm of the North Atlantic Ocean tucked away in northeastern …

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If you are a big old male Weddell seal, the ladies will love you

male Weddell seal

Ever wondered what drives male Weddell seal behavior during the mating season? Seals have many needs, such as staying warm in winter and cool in summer, avoiding hungry predators, finding food, and finding mates. These needs can also change with the age of the seal. During the mating season, male Weddell seals try to attract …

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This seal has the craziest teeth in the carnivore world

Meet the crabeater seal. This little guy comes from Antarctica and has the most specialized teeth in the carnivore world. Keep reading to know more about the crabeater seal. Teeth to eat crab? You might think that crabeater seals eat crab. Indeed, their Latin name is “Lobodon carcinophaga“, and carcinophaga literally means “crab-eating”. But here …

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The walrus – February 2021

This month, we want to talk about a very large pinniped, the walrus (Odobenus rosmarus)! Learn about our tusk fighting, mollusk eating, flipper footed marine mammal of the month. We hope to highlight some facts and their climate-changing plight. Where in the world do they live? There are two subspecies of walrus. The first one …

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Fighting the good fight: survival in male Weddell seals

Earth is now in its 6th mass extinction. As a result, we must race against time to conserve species. A useful conservation tool is modeling population size. In this post, we cover Weddell seals‘ survival in Antarctica and show that fighting decreases the long-term survival rate of adult males. Population parameters Changes in population size occur …

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Seals “see” and hunt fish with their whiskers

Have you ever looked at a seal or a sea lion and wondered about their voluptuous whiskers? Those fine hairs, called whiskers or vibrissae, have a crucial role in their lives. Studies have shown that blindfolded captive harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) can easily follow other seals underwater, using only their whiskers. Yet, that was just …

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Seals molt every year to keep their fur healthy

When we think about molting, the most familiar example we can think of is the snake “shedding its skin” and replacing it with a new one. However, did you know that also mammals shed something? Mammals shed their fur. Pinnipeds, such as seals, otariids, and walruses, belong to this category of fur shedding mammals. Once …

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