What’s a Baby Seal Called & 5 More Amazing Facts!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: December 10, 2021
Image Credit Nicram Sabod/Shutterstock.com
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Baby seals are loved for being adorable, but did you know they can hold their breath for up to two whole hours? Or that they use their stored blubber to get them through without a fresh meal? 

Come along and check out these pictures and interesting facts about baby seals.

#1: Baby Seals are Called Pups!

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Baby seals are called pups

Kjersti Joergensen/Shutterstock.com

A baby seal is called a pup! Seals’ lives are generally broken into four different cycles. Baby seals are called pups and are considered to be pups from birth until they’re weaned at around 1 year old. 

The next stage of their lives is the young seal age. The young seal is now on their own to learn to swim and how to catch food to survive. Many young seals lose around half their body weight while they’re in the process of learning how to hunt for themselves. 

Next up is the adolescent seal phase. In this phase, the seal has learned how to catch its food and how to swim. So, all that’s left to do is pack on the pounds again to make it through the cold, harsh winter. 

The final phase of the cycle is the adult seal. Seals are considered to be adults by age 6 and they live to be around 30 years old depending on whether they’re male or female.

Seals share the “pup” name with many other animals, such as dogs, sloths, beavers, and bats.

#2: Seal Pups Have A Special Call With Their Mom

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Seal pups aren’t afraid to use their voice when they need help!

iStock.com/flyingrussian

Baby seals share a special bond with their mothers. When a seal pup calls out for its mom, not only will she quickly come to the rescue, but she can also tell the baby crying is hers.

Researchers noted that seal mothers can recognize their pups and distinguish their cries from other pups. What’s more – the mothers continued to recognize their babies’ calls for up to five years of separation. Talk about an unbreakable bond!

#3: Seals Learn To Become Pro Swimmers

Seal pups can hold their breath underwater for up to two hours.

Nicram Sabod/Shutterstock.com

When baby seals are born, they can barely swim, if at all, and they are completely dependent on their mother’s milk for nourishment. By the time they’re adults, they are expert swimmers because they spend months at a time at sea. 

Seal pups are so comfortable in the water, they can even sleep in it! However, their naps are short, since they can only hold their breath underwater for about two hours.

#4: Seal Pups Have Extremely Protective Fat

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Seal pups have a layer of fat called blubber that protects them from the cold and nourishes them when needed.

iStock.com/Ian_Sherriffs

Baby seals bulk up on weight from the moment they’re born. This is because once a seal pup is weaned, its mother sets out to mate again. Consequently, the baby seals are left to fend for themselves. 

However, the tiny mammals are not completely helpless. From a young age, the babies pack on a thick layer of fat, called blubber. There’s no doubt that food can be scarce for young seals, especially while they’re learning to hunt. Luckily, the blubber provides a source of energy and calories for the growing pups when no food is available. . 

#5: Baby Seals Are Hunted For Their Fur

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Seal pups are sought after for their beautiful white fur.

iStock.com/slowmotiongli

For many years, seals have been hunted by humans for their fur and for the many uses their blubber contains. Most baby seals are born with a yellow coat of fur. Their first is yellow due to the amniotic fluid they were surrounded in during their 11 month gestation period. 

After a day or two earthside, their fur loses its yellow tint and reveals a bright white coat. This is where seal pups get their nickname, whitecoats. The hunting of whitecoats specifically has been banned in Canada since 1987 but this ban is only for whitecoats, not the other young seals that can be found living there.

#6: Baby Seals Can Grow Up To Be The Size Of A Car

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Seal pups can grow to be up to 4,500 pounds as adults!

iStock.com/Matthew Hale

Baby seals pack on the pounds rapidly since their mother’s milk is five to six times richer in nutrients than a mother cow’s milk. There are over 30 species of seals, with most of them being rather large. 

However, there are some exceptions, like the Galapagos Fur Seal, which only grows to be 3 feet long and weighs around 65 pounds. The largest species of seal is the Southern Elephant Seal and this seal can grow up to 19 feet long and weigh up to 8,800 pounds, which is two times heavier than your typical sedan!

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much do baby seals weigh?

Baby seals weigh on average 20 pounds when first born and they pack on about 4 to 6 pounds a day. Seals need all this weight to keep themselves warm in the cold climates they live in and to also have fat reserves to depend on when food is few and far between.

What do baby seals eat?

Baby seals are mammals, which means they nurse their mother’s milk.  A seal’s diet as they grow is composed mostly of fish including octopus, squid, herring, cod, and many more. 

Where do baby seals live?

Baby seals are born, and for the most part raised, on ice. Their moms will sometimes take them out into the water and nurse them. However, some babies are not strong enough and have to sit it out. As they get older, they start to venture into the water on their own as they learn to swim.

What are baby seals called?

A baby seal is called a pup. They share their baby name with many other animals, as well, such as sharks, rats, and even lemurs!

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