What do Seals Eat?
Seals find the foods that they need in the water around them, which is why you will only find them where there is plenty of water. Their primary sources of food include fish but they will consume just about any type of meat they can get in the water. Other types of food that they enjoy include squid, octopus, and shellfish. Sometimes food sources are low due to the big ships fishing for such items in the same waters as the seals hunt.
They use their flippers to get around in the water with ease as they hunt for their prey. They are able to dive very far into the water too when they need to in order to find food. Some of them can dive up to 3,000 feet. They eat a great deal of food each day so it can take them many hours to feed each day. Generally the will consume up to 5% of their overall body weight.
Seals don’t take the time to chew their food even though they have sharp teeth. When they consume small enough types of food sources they will simply swallow them. If they are after something large they will tear it into large chunks. They have very powerful back molars that they can depend on to easily crush what they need to in order to make it small enough to swallow.
Seals don’t take the time to drink water either. They are able to get all of the water they need from the food that they consume. When they aren’t able to find enough food their body helps to make up for the loss. They start to break down the fat called blubber and that produces enough water for them. This can be dangerous though if they are losing too much fat. This is due to the fact that this fat helps to keep their body temperatures where it needs to be.
You will notice that seals have whiskers on their face as a physical characteristic. These whiskers serve a purpose though of helping them to find their prey. Even in the dark colored waters they are able to do so because their whiskers are very sensitive to movements and to vibrations around them. Some people assume that seals have poor eyesight since they use their whiskers but they see quite well. They are able to find prey through site both during the day and at night.
Seals have very sensitive ears and they can hear their prey very far away. The one sense they don’t use for feeding is their sense of smell. They can move along very well in the water when they are feeding. They usually are doing so at a speed of about 20 miles per hour. When you see a seal moving underwater to feed, they are more graceful than when you see them lugging their bodies around on land.
The mothers are very caring towards their pups from the start. They feed them gallon after gallon of milk that is ½ fat. This allows their young to grow very rapidly. They won’t feed themselves during this time based on the behaviors of most species of seals. When the mothers can no longer fend off their own hunger they will go to the water to feed, leaving their pup alone.
Instinct is what keeps these young pups alive. They grow very rapidly from the milk their mother’s supply. They know how to reach the water and instinctively how to swim. They are good imitators so it doesn’t take them long at all to learn how to hunt for their own food. This can be any time from three weeks of age to six weeks of age depending on the species of seal involved.