Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weddell Seals

Each day we are on the sea ice there seems to be more and more seals.  It is birthing time here for the seals, and we have already seen one baby.  The seals can be found at cracks in the ice, where they work to keep holes open by chewing on the ice.  We watched one seal attempt to get out of a hole three times before it started to make the hole bigger by scraping the ice with its teeth.  Many of the seal holes have blood around them from the males who guard their holes from other males.  It is not uncommon to see bloodied male seals outside the holes covered in snow having not appeared to move for many hours.  These seals are exhausted from fighting for their holes.   As soon as they are rested they return to the water to continue to guard the hole.  Below are a few photos from one of the hole we saw the other day.
Mother and pup.  
An exhausted male.  
A seal looking up through its hole.  

This seal took four tries to get out of the hole.   The one in the background had a blood trail from the hole to where it was laying.  There are several large wounds on its back flipper and around its genital areas, which is where the males bite each other.  

A seal rolling in the fresh snow after getting out of the hole.  

A seal carving the hole with its teeth.  


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1 comment:

  1. I feel like I am getting a school lesson with each post I read. Awesome. Keep them coming.