Friday, June 29, 2012

More thing about seals

I know, I get on a subject and write about it more than most are interested.

But here is a picture of a seal I took out on Pasagshak Bay last year. It is at "the end of the road system".

We are going there tomorrow because the red salmon are coming in. I bet we'll see a bunch of seals having some good meals.

It's easy to differentiate a seal form our Steller sea lions. First of all, seals like to live alone, not in goups or herd like sea lions. They spend much more time in the water, so you see them less. But when they come up on a rock to "sun", they like to arch up their tail. So even if you are far away, you can tell just by the shape that it's a seal.

They also seem to be much more interested in people. Like otters, they keep looking at you. But they have a definite distance they want to keep form you. If you paddle closer, they go under.....only to come back up farther away. As long as you don't encorach on "their space", they often just tread water and stare at you, maybe for 20 minutes at a time. Different seals have diferent definition of what is "their space". Some let you get as close as 20 yards. Others go under at 100 yards. Don't ask me why.

Some seals are too friendly. I know two peopel who have had young seals climb on their kayak. That is fine when they are 100-200 pounds. But if they do this when they are adults of 300 pounds, your kayak would likely flip over. I've never had such an experience, and hope never to.

Sea lions might be "friendly" too, but if so, it is in their own special way. They like to sneak up on you and bump your paddle from behind when you are not looking. Even worse, they like to swim right under your kayak and bump it!, even when the water under you is only a few feet deep. That is not so funny since they are 1,000 pounds and almost as long as your kayak.

Concerning visual characteristics: our seals have spots on their fur and open holes in their heads for their ears. Sea lions are more homogeniously brown and have little tags over their ears, so you can't see their ear holes.

And  when you see them on a rock, sea lions are there in groups. There will be only one seall on a rock and likely will have it's back arched,  just like in the picture above.

But the easiest way to differentiate them is this:

If they are so big that fear speeds up your heart rate, it is a sea lion!

Hope we have fun tomorrow.


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