Seals' flippers point backward. They have no visible ears.
They are perfectly formed for swimming, with smooth, streamlined bodies and large flippers, like paddles. They swim gracefully with alternate stroke of their back flippers.
On land, however, they are clumsy without water to support their bodies, so they clamber over the shore by wiggling along on their bellies.
They live in costal waters and spend some of their time on land. Most seals live in the cold oceans in the world. Their oily, glossy fur keeps them warm in cold water, helped by a thick layer of blubber under the skin.
Harp seals live in Arctic waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Gray seals live in coastal warters among reefs and rocky shores.
Harbor seals are seen around harbors, ports, and even a short way up rivers. They live around the northern shores of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
They feed on sea creatures such as fish, shellfish, crab, squid, octopus, and shrimp.
*Adult seals need as much as 111 pounds of food a day.
*Most seals go ashore to have their babies, or pups. They crowd together noisily in huge groups. There are sometimes thousans on one stretch of beach. Each mother has to protect her pup from being squashed.
*Newborn harp seals have white fur to camouflage them on the ice. After a few weeks the coat changes to gray.
Seals can dive to nearly 2,000 feet (600m), holding its breath for almost an hour. Only a submarine can dive to the same depth.
Seals have whiskers, which help them to pick up the movement of fish in the water. Then the chase begins. Leopard seals are fierce hunters. They hunt penguins by waiting for them near the water's edge.
Fur seals have thick, hairy coats. Their fur is made waterproof by oil from their skin, so they can swim without getting their skin wet.