Yay for Ocean Blobbies! "Ocean Blobbies" is just a funny nickname I made up after looking at seals for the first time when I was a kid. They are so funny looking and for obvious reasons they remind me of little blobs and in some cases, big blobs. Blob is not the worst description, as they are technically mammals surrounded by blubber and there are some that look so round, a blob is the only thing I can think of. This weeks Ocean Blobbie is the Harbor Seal, one of the oceans most common pinnipeds. Harbor Seals are carnivorous semi-aquatic mammals that are built for a life in the water and very poorly built for life on land. In fact, most of us humans only see the Harbor Seals when they are hauled out on land. Yes, that is the correct term, "hauled out". These pudgy mammals need to literally drag or haul themselves out of the water to be able to back on land and when they finally get out on land, they just sit there.
Why Do Harbor Seals Haul Themselves Out On Land?
Well, I feel a little mean. "Why?", you ask? It's because I had mentioned above that the Harbor Seals just sit there when they haul themselves out on land. That is not entirely correct, as they have different reasons for hauling out. The first reason they come out on land is to rest and bask in the sun. This helps give them time to relax and warm up before having to get back into the tough ocean world. They also haul out to escape predators that may be trying to eat them, but most importantly, they haul to molt! That's right defenders, Harbor Seals molt and it is a very important 3 stage process that gives them new fur after the breeding season.
What do Harbor Seals Eat?
Harbor Seals are strictly carnivores and love eating fish. Harbor Seals are known to eat multiple species of fish, including Salmon, Sea Bass, and Anchovies, although there is many more species that they feed on. Harbor Seals will also eat the occasional invertebrate, like crabs, squids and mollusks. Harbor Seals are built for life in the water and they are really good at diving and swimming after various fish species.
Are Harbor Seals endangered?
Great question defenders! In fact the Harbor Seal is the most common of the pinniped species and scientists think that there is around 500,000 individuals in the worldwide population of Harbor Seals. That is an insane amount of ocean blobbies and they all occupy the majority of shore lines in the Northern Hemisphere. Harbor Seals are currently protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which focuses on the protection and well being of all marine mammals. Due to this act, scientist see the Harbor Seal sticking around for the foreseeable future.
Don't forget you can continue learning about all the marine mammals found in the ocean by heading to the Animal Kingdom to explore. We have so many things you can do there, like read, watch videos, test your knowledge on animal quizzes and even do some animal coloring pages. The resources are endless and we hope to see you there. Make sure to share your work on social media.