How Do Seals Protect Themselves?

Seals protect themselves from predators by propelling through the water when predators threaten them. With their streamlined bodies, sensitive ears and strong flippers, seals can detect predators and swim at high speeds to escape an attack.

Seals also have sharp teeth and powerful jaws that come in handy when fighting off predators. Because seals swallow their prey without chewing, their teeth are mainly used to fight other seals for dominance. They may also slash predators with their large canine teeth to defend themselves. Elephant seals are one of the biggest pinnipeds and have less enemies than regular seals. Great white sharks and orcas are enemies of elephant seals because these two sea creatures have long and sharp teeth that can penetrate the seals’ thick skin. To avoid an attack, the elephant seal speeds through or swims deep in the water. These giant seals can swim up to 12 miles per hour and dive up to 2,000 feet.

Aside from using their speed and strong teeth, seals also protect themselves from the harsh cold climate of the Antarctic through their thick fur, which has large layers of blubber underneath. Their fur coat traps air and adds an extra insulating layer, which works well when they rest on land. The Hawaiian monk seal, which lives in warm, tropical waters, does not have special adaptations to the warm climate. They just find a shady and cool resting place and remain inactive during the heat of the day.