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What Do Seals Eat?

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Seals, elegant sea creatures, spend time both on land and sea, which can make their lives difficult at times. Depending on their location, the weather, and food supplies, sometimes seals have to work hard for their food. Especially in extremely cold areas, seals will have to travel a great deal to obtain food. You may ask what do seals eat? Seals are considered carnivores, which means that they only eat meat products. They do eat a variety of meats, and if you are interested in learning more about the specific kinds of food that seals eat, read on for some fascinating information.

California sea lion swimming underwaterCalifornia sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Photo by Vassil.

Regular diet

A regular diet for a seal consists of a variety of different fish. Depending on the location that the seal inhabits, the seal will eat whatever fish is available to them. Fish that seals eat include, small fish like herring or anchovies, or larger fish like flounder or salmon. They will also go after mackerel, rockfish and sardines. What is really fascinating about seals revolves around the way they digest their food. Seals have the ability to take the fish that they find and swallow large portions without taking any bites!

Special treats

Some seals go after other sea creatures such as mollusks. Seals will go after mollusks, if they can be found, and will snack on them almost like a treat. Seals would be unable to digest the mollusks whole, though, so they depend on their back molars to break up the shells into small enough pieces for digestion.

Northern elephant seal males fighting for a mateNorthern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris). Photo by Mike Baird (Wikimedia).

Leopard seals

Leopard seals are larger seals that can be quite menacing. Because of their large size, leopard seals require larger meals and larger prey. Sadly, penguins, which are very much loved by most people, are hunted and attacked by leopard seals. The penguins fight hard, but they are no match for the leopard seal’s mobility. When a penguin dives into water for a swim, the leopard seal may be waiting for them, ready to eat them up. Seals are fascinating creatures, and their diet seems to be as various as the number of species of seals in existence!

More on seals: Facts about seals.