The First Swimmer

The first swimmer pup we've seen this season!!  It typically takes about 10 days before the pup starts swimming, often encouraged by the mother to do so.  This pup had just got out of the water from a good swim with mom (it seemed to me that mom actually pushed the pup up and out of the hole, but I didn't have my camera at that moment to capture it).  Here, mom is busy enlarging a hole for the pup to get in and out you will witness towards the end of the clip!!

It may be better to view this video here (larger and can change the quality).

Video taken by Jesse DeVoe under NMFS Permit No. 17236


  1. Man, that looks and sounds so hard!
    How interesting that seals can enlarge their entry/exit hole. I didn't know that or else (more likely) missed a lesson somewhere along the way. Are the teeth specialized for this in some way?

  2. I don't know how specialized the teeth are specifically for cutting ice, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are adapted in some manner (to wear less easily, protrude at a certain angle?) because it seems like it could be important for survival, and its important enough that the mom's do it all the time to build ramps for the pups and keep holes open. The hole this mom was excavating started out the size of her head, and she widened it so much that she squeezed out of it when she hauled out. It's pretty impressive.

  3. So, while holding their breath under water, they look for an existing hole, then enlarge it to suit their purposes. Claustrophobic types (like me) must have been weeded out of the seal gene pool a long time ago. Cool. Thanks!


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