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04 Jul 2018 14:21:47
Did you know that seals are often referred to as the puppies of the ocean? It’s not just a coincidence that both seals and puppies have big, beautiful eyes, whiskered snouts and playful and inquisitive personalities. Read on to find out what they share in common plus more fun facts about seals...
Believe it or not, there's a scientific theory that says seals are related to dogs through evolution! Fascinating, right? It says that a prehistoric, dog-like land mammal began to occasionally hunt for food in shallow waters, then in streams and lakes and, over time, began to transform and develop physical attributes to enable them to survive in the sea. Still to this day, it can be hard to tell the difference between the skulls of certain types of seals, like the Leopard Seal, and large dogs at first glance.
Elephant Seals can hold their breath for up TWO HOURS! But how? Well, seals have more blood in their bodies than any other animal and, since oxygen is stored and carried around the body in blood, it allows them to hold their breath for an extra long time. When they dive in search for food, they can also decrease their heart rate by 50-80%. This means Elephant Seals are able to dive up to 900 metres.
Unlike humans, seals sleep is short bursts and can take their naps on both land and in the water. It's a convenient skill to have when choosing the best place to close your eyes and avoid dangers. When its warm or they have pups, some seal species tend to choose land for sleeping. When seals choose a watery snooze, they sleep in a position known as bottling. This is where they float entirely underwater except for their snout, allowing them to continue breathing. Some seal species sleep completely submerged, close to the surface of the water, and can close their nostrils to avoid drowning. Pretty clever!
There are 33 different species of seals, the largest being the Southern Elephant Seal, which can reach up to 4 metres in length and weigh up to two tonnes. That's about as heavy as a large car!
On the other end of the spectrum you have the Galapagos Fur Seal, that is just 1 metre in length and weighs just 30 kilograms, on average.
Want to see how big our SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast seals are up close? You'll love our seal swim experience! Click the button below to find out more about this unforgettable encounter our playful resident seals.