The Weddell Seal

The weddell seal is a mammal that lives mostly in antarctica. Learn about his life.

The weddell seal is a mammal and is part of the Phocidae family. It can be found in Antarctica, just off the coast and as far north as New Zealand. When swimming the weddell seal avoids moving ice packs, when it comes to land it will either land on the shore or on icebergs that are stable. The weddell seal is protected from the icy cold water of the Antarctica but a thick layer of blubber. He can dive deep into the icy waters and stay for long periods of time. This seal will break through sheets of ice to prepare what is known as breathing holes, this he will keep open all year long, for his source of air while under water.

The weddell seal's body plays a great part in his survival in the coldest water of the world. The design of his body allows him to travel through the waters at a high speed this promotes body warmth. This seal has a short coat of fur that is used to help keep him warm and as a streamlining device when swimming and hunting for food. He has a small head that also effects the streamlining effect of swimming. When hunting he uses his strong jaws to bite and hold his prey. He also uses his powerful jaws to open and maintain his breathing holes in the thick sheets of ice. The seal's flippers are used to help him get around on the slippery ice and he used them when swimming as rotors to steer him in the direction he needs to go.

Antarctica is extremely cold and in winter the waters there are covered with ice. The weddell seal will usually cut up to sixty air holes throughout his territory. Since this mammal is mostly a solitary animal, his territory may reach up to three miles. He hunts in the shallow areas of his territory and eats shellfish, squid, fish and cod. The weddell seal learns his territory as a pup his whole life is spent hunting in his territory he does not hunt far out. He will stay in the shallow areas for his food. Since many humans have not intruded Antarctica there is plenty of food for all the mammals.

The weddell seal usually mates from the age of three to five years old, the mating season occurs in December. When mating the males and females all gather in large groups around breathing holes. The male choices a mate and they will mate for a short period of time underwater. When the male has completes his mating with one female he goes in search of another female to mate with again. This goes on for about two weeks in December. Then the male and females go their separate ways. When the female becomes pregnant she will eat as much as she can for when it is time to give birth she will not eat for six weeks while she is weaning her pup. The female in October is ready to give birth, she slithers out of the water and gives birth to one pup, and she avoids staying on land for long periods to protect her pup from predators. Large sea lions and killer whales prey on their young. The young pup once weaned will stay with it's mother until the next pup is born which is approximately the next October, due to as soon as the pup is weaned the female mates again.

Because of Antarctica is considered by humans to be the wastelands of the world it is not usually inhabited by humans. This reason alone is why there is not much threat for the population of the Weddell seal. This seal can live up to be thirty-five years old in the wild, it has been reported by zoos to live up to fifteen years in captivity. These wild animals do much better for themselves in the wild.

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