Fun Seal Facts for Kids
Seals are warm-blooded, air breathing mammals
that live in or near the sea. There are many different species
including fur seals, sea lions, and common seals.
Learn more about seal habitats, what seals eat, how long they live and other interesting information with our fun seal facts.
Seals are semiaquatic marine mammals. They have four flippers, so are in a category of animals known as pinnipedia which means 'fin-footed'.
The pinnipeds group contains 3 families: phocidae, the earless or true seal (eg. common seal), otaridae, eared seals (eg. fur seals and sea lions) and odobenidae (walrus).
Seals are believed to have evolved from land based, bear or otter-like ancestors.
There are around 33 species of seals.
Seals are found in most waters of the world, mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic but also in some areas of the tropics.
Seals have a layer of fat under skin called blubber, which keeps them warm in cold water. Their slick fur coat is streamlined for gliding through water.
A seal's whiskers help it to detect prey in dark murky waters.
Seals live on average for 25 - 30 years, females usually live longer than males.
Seals range in size from about 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 45 kg (100 lb) such as the earless Baikal seal and eared Galapagos fur seal, up to the 5 m (16 ft) and 3,200 kg (7,100 lb) southern elephant seal.
The seal is a carnivorous mammal that usually feeds on fish, squid, shellfish, crustaceans or sea birds. Some, like the leopard seal, eat other species of seals.
Seals mainly live in the water, they only come ashore to mate, give birth, moult or escape from predators such as orca whales and sharks.
Because they can spend months at sea, seals can sleep underwater.
Some seal species can hold their breath for nearly two hours underwater by slowing their heart beat and conserving oxygen.
About once a year a female seal, called a cow, gives birth to one pup on land.
Humans have traditionally hunted seals for their meat, blubber and fur coats, however seals are now protected by international law. They are still commonly kept in captivity though and sometimes trained to perform tricks and tasks.