How Do Seals Defend Themselves?

••• seal on the beach image by paul mitchell from Fotolia.com

At first glance, their large bodies and short fins appear to make seals easy targets for predators and others that would compete for food and territory. However, these marine mammals are far from defenseless. If possible, a seal will usually use flight as a defense rather than fight.

Anatomy and Physiology

Part of the seal's defense is in the difficulty of injuring a seal. With several inches of blubber, it takes a much larger animal to bite a seal and eat it. Except for animals such as killer whales and large sharks, most predators do not bother trying to capture a seal.

Where They Live

The ability to live in the water and on land is also part of their defense. When in the water, the streamlined body of the seal allows it to out maneuver predators and quickly jump on land to fully escape the water-bound predator.

Aggression

As a last resort when grabbed by a predator, seals will bite and thrash to defend themselves. In the case of male seals, such as elephant seals protecting a territory from competing males, the two will battle by biting and slamming their necks against each other.

References

  • "The Encyclopedia of Mammals"; Edited by Dr. David Macdonald; 1995

About the Author

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.

Photo Credits

  • seal on the beach image by paul mitchell from Fotolia.com

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