Harbor Seals Essay

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Harbor Seals

Harbor seals are marine mammals that have spotted coats in a variety of shades from silver gray, black to dark brown. They reach 5 to 6 feet in length and weigh up to 300 pounds. Harbor seals are dimorphic, with the male being slightly larger than the female. They are true, or crawling seals, which means they have no external earflaps. True seals also have small flippers, and move on land by flopping along on their bellies. They breathe at the surface and hold their breath while diving. They can dive to 1,500 feet for up to 40 minutes, although their average dive lasts 3 to 7 minutes. Their scientific name basically means 'sea calf' or 'sea dog.' This nickname is fits them well, as these seals closely resemble a dog when
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Their diet varies greatly depending on location. The seals tend to hunt for fish, crabs, shellfish, octopus, squids, crustaceans, and mollusks. They are excellent hunters and can prey very well. They generally feed close to shore or in shallow waters, and have been observed feeding during both the day and night. The seals have a keen sense of smell and have great eyesight, and use these senses to find its food remotely easily.

Location plays a key factor for mating season also, but usually begins in late November and peaks in the first half of May. The pups are usually born around springtime. Harbor seals only mate in water, but give birth on land or in the water. Female harbor seals can give birth when they are 3 to 5 years old.

Harbor seals give live birth to a single pup that is usually around 2 and ½ feet long that weights around 15 to 20 pounds. Gestation usually takes place in 9 months, but the egg doesn?t get fertilized for 3 months, making birth dates around the same time each year. The pup usually rides on its mother?s back for the first week of its life, and unlike many other seals, they are able to swim at birth. The pup nurses on its mother?s fatty milk for the first 4 weeks of its life, which almost doubles the pups weight by the time it?s weaned. After about four weeks, the pup is weaned and is left to go on

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