What kind of animal is a seal? Explanation of characteristics, ecology, and habitat


What kind of animal is a seal? We will explain the physical characteristics, ecology, and habitats of marine mammals. One of the creatures that attracts a lot of attention at aquariums is seals. You can see seals in any aquarium or zoo, but what kinds of seals are there? Please use this as a reference as we have summarized the types and characteristics.

What is a seal? About basic status

Seals are a group of marine mammals that are included in the pinniped class. Its scientific name is Phocidae, and it looks like a sea leopard. Depending on the subspecies, the body length is 200-300 cm and the weight is 200-400 kg. A list of basic information is as follows. Both children and adults can often see them moving and eating on the ice and on the coast.

scientific name(学名)Phocidae
classification(分類)Mammalia、  Carnivora、 Phocidae

About classification

Seals are made up of many different species. The following variants exist: Seals are said to have diverged from a common ancestor with weasels. It is said that their ancestors are close to bears.

Scientific Name
Hooded seal
Cystophora cristata
Bearded Seal
Erignathus barbatus
Gray Seal
Halichoerus grypus
Ribbon Seal
Histriophoca fasciata
Leopard seal
Hydrurga leptonyx
weddell seal
Leptonychotes weddellii
Crabeater seal
Lobodon carcinophagus
Northern Elephant Seal
Mirounga angustirostris
Southern elephant seal
Mirounga leonina
Mediterranean monk seal
Monachus monachus
Caribbean Monk Seal
Monachus tropicalis
Ross seal
Ommatophoca rossii
Harp seal
Pagophilus groenlandicus
Spotted Seal
Phoca largha
Harbour Seal
Phoca vitulina
Caspian seal
Pusa caspica
Ringed Seal
Pusa hispida
Baikal seal
Pusa sibirica

Cystophora cristata

Hooded seals are 200-300cm long. Weight 200-400kg. Males are larger than females and have gray fur with irregular dark spots. This seal lives in the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and its meat is eaten, its fat is used for fuel, and its fur is used for leather products, and it is listed as an endangered species.

Erignathus barbatus

Bearded seals belong to the genus Bearded Seal and live from the Arctic to the Bering Sea. The body length is 200-260cm, the weight is 200-360kg, and the body color is light gray to dark brown. Populations are very stable and are classified as Least Concern.

Halichoerus grypus

Gray seals live in the North Atlantic Ocean and can grow up to 1.6m to 2m in length and 100kg in weight. In recent years, the population of gray seals has increased so much on the western side of the North Atlantic that there are calls for their removal in Canada.

Histriophoca fasciata

The black seal is a subspecies with distinctive band-like patterns around its neck, waist, and legs, and it lives near the Sea of Okhotsk. The body length is 170cm and the weight is 70-130kg. They are very solitary, usually traveling in groups of one or two, and their population is very stable.

Hydrurga leptonyx

Leopard seals live in Antarctica and are 2.8 to 3.3 meters long and weigh 300 to 500 kg. The body shape is elongated. The head is large and the tip of the snout is pointed. Seals do not form groups and live alone, have few natural predators, have a stable population, and are classified as low concern.

Leptonychotes weddellii

Weddell seals live in Antarctica and are approximately 2.9 meters long for males and 3.3 meters for females. Weight is 400-450 kg. This species is distributed in the waters near Antarctica and often appears at Antarctic bases, so many photographs have been taken of it. The population is stable and it is classified as low concern.

Lobodon carcinophagus

The crabeater seal lives in Antarctica and is 220-230cm long and weighs 200-300kg. The body shape is elongated. Their whole body is covered with pale gray hair, and they live mainly on drift ice. The population is stable and it is classified as low concern.

Mirounga angustirostris

Northern elephant seals belong to the genus Elephant Seal. Male seals are very large, weighing 1,500 to 2,300 kg and reaching 4 to 5 meters in length. They are polygamous, and the elephant seal’s distinctive feature is its elephant trunk. The population is stable and it is classified as low concern.

Mirounga leonina

Southern elephant seals live on islands in the sub-Antarctic and can be seen in large numbers in areas such as South Georgia. The body length is 4.2 to 5.8 m and the weight is 1,500 to 3,700 kg. The elephant seal, which is polygamous and is characteristic of elephant seals, is larger in northern elephant seals. The population is stable and it is classified as low concern.

Monachus monachus

Testudo monk seals live in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, and are 230-280 cm long and weigh 200-300 kg. The fur on the back is black or brown, and there are white markings on the abdomen. Due to overfishing and competition with fishing, their population has declined dramatically, and they are designated as an endangered species.

Monachus tropicalis

Caribbean monk seals live in the Caribbean Sea and can be over 2m long and weigh 160kg. Caribbean monk seals were overhunted and became completely extinct in 1952.

Ommatophoca rossii

Ross seals live in Antarctica and have a body length of 1.68-2.09m and a weight of 129-216kg. The snout is short and wide, and the fur is the shortest of all seals. Populations are very stable and are classified as Least Concern.

Pagophilus groenlandicus

Harp seals are widely distributed in the North Atlantic Ocean, and can reach a length of 190 cm and a weight of about 135 kg. The fur is gray and has markings. Harp seals live in the ocean and on glaciers, and sometimes live in groups. Populations are very stable and are classified as Least Concern.

Phoca largha

Harbor seals live in the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, and their body length is between 160 and 170 cm, and their weight is between 70 and 130 kg. The back is gray with scattered black markings. Populations are very stable and are classified as Least Concern.

Phoca vitulina

Harbor seals are widely distributed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Harbor seals are 120-170cm long and weigh 50-150kg. There are two types of body color: dark and light. Populations are very stable and are classified as Least Concern.

Pusa caspica

The Caspian seal is a seal that lives in the Caspian Sea and other areas.In the summer, it lives in the southern part of the Caspian Sea, and in the winter, it moves north to the northern part of the Caspian Sea. The body length is 180cm, the weight is 90kg, and it is endemic to the Caspian Sea, so it is designated as an endangered species because its population is small.

Pusa hispida

Ringed seals are small seals that are widely distributed in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere, with a body length of 120 to 130 cm and a weight of 50 kg. The back side is gray with gray-brown to black markings, and it is smaller than other seals. Populations are stable and classified as low concern.

Pusa sibirica

Baikal seals live around Lake Baikal in Russia. The body length is 100-110cm and the weight is 50-90kg. The flanks are yellowish gray and the overall color is dark grayish brown. It is the only seal in the world that lives exclusively in freshwater, and its population is stable and classified as low concern.

Where is its habitat?

Seals are distributed in the world’s oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

Seals are marine mammals that belong to the family Sealidae. Seals have very sensitive whiskers to detect prey. The neck is short and the limbs have five fingers, with webs between them. Seals are known for their excellent diving ability, and some subspecies can dive more than 1,000 meters. The nasal passages can be closed and most of the air in the lungs can be exhaled.

What is your personality like?

Seals have a curious personality. You can clearly see this when you are in an aquarium. They will probably approach the person in front of the aquarium and make a gesture as if they are looking into your face. One of their characteristics is that they are highly social and tend to live in groups.

What is the ecology like?

Seals make a living by eating fish, squid, and crustaceans. Most seal couples are polygamous, and they give birth on land or on the sea ice. The lifespan of a seal is said to be 25 to 30 years.

Are there any natural enemies?

In the natural world, killer whales are our natural enemies. Seals have very large bodies, so they don’t have many enemies.

Are seals an endangered species?

Unfortunately, seals are listed as an endangered species. The meat is edible, the fat can be used as fuel, and the fur can be used to make coats. Therefore, some subspecies are endangered. Conservation efforts are underway around the world.

Difference between seal and sea lion

Seals are often mistaken for sea lions. There is a decisive difference that can be determined by appearance. Sea lions have pinnae, but seals do not. Furthermore, sea lions walk on four legs, but seals cannot lift their bodies and move by crawling.

Can seals be kept?

Seals will need a large swimming pool. You also need a space where you can rest, so it’s not always easy. The main food is raw fish. They eat a lot of fish, so it’s quite expensive. Some species are highly protected and may require permission, so be sure to check carefully. It is realistic to obtain seals from zoos or aquariums.


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