We are all quite familiar with dogs and hardly think of what they are. Pooches are highly intelligent and also have a close relationship with human beings. On the other hand, seals are somewhat more complicated as compared to dogs.
You will come across as many as 33 different species of seals out there. They are available in a wide range of sizes ranging from the Baikal Seal, which is 3 feet in length and weighs hundred pounds, to the Southern Elephant Seal, which is 15 feet in length and weighs 10,000 pounds.
Seals, similar to dogs, are highly intelligent.
Are seals related to dogs?
They are not closely related. When classified biologically, seals, as well as dogs both, belong to the suborder Caniformia. However, that suborder consists of 9 families. Among them, dogs belong to Canidae, and seals belong to Pinnipeds. Despite the close similarity between seals and dogs, seals are considered to be related to bears more closely as compared to dogs.
Generally speaking, seals do not have many similarities with terrestrial mammals whatsoever. It is believed that seals have broken off more than 50 million years before from a common ancestor.
This can be compared with chimpanzees and humans, who are quite closely related and might have split from one another approximately 4 million years ago.
Can a seal be a pet?
One cannot deny the fact that seals come with an appealing and lovable appearance and presence. It is quite difficult for human beings not to get close to the seals and even feed or touch them.
However, these types of human contacts will prove to be detrimental to the seals in the long run.
Being large and wild animals, seals can be quite dangerous. In case they bite, serious infections can be transmitted to human beings or their pets.
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Just like us, seals are also mammals. It is possible for them to pass on filthy viruses, including herpes. The biggest threat is Zoonosis, an infectious ailment of animals that can be transmitted naturally to human beings.
These ailments can be caused by several pathogens, including viruses such as rabies and bacteria, parasites, and fungi.
There are also other reasons not to adopt a seal as your pet. Being a protected species, most cities will not allow seals as pets without a special license.
Apart from this, it will be difficult for you to take care of a seal. It is not possible for them to live in a swimming pool that is chlorinated. They require clean salt water, and they consume only fresh fish. Plenty of fish.
Moreover, they will require companions because they’re extremely social and are accustomed to dwelling in the company of other seals in large pods.
How long do seals live for?
In case a seal is able to survive the perils of being a pup, it will be able to live for quite some time.
As a matter of fact, the Common and the Grey seal have been known to live for over 30 years. One particular Grey seal living in Scotland was found to live for approximately 46 years.
However, many seals die while they are at sea through parasitic ailments, pollution, and getting trapped in the fishing nets.
What to do if a seal approaches you?
Although seals are known to be aggressive creatures, they rarely attack human beings out there. Amongst all the different species of seals, the Leopard seals are known to be apex predators that can pose some sort of threat to humans. Despite this, they have rarely attacked human beings in the past.
However, there have been several records of humans being attacked by adult Leopard seals. One casualty has also been recorded when a researcher was killed by a seal while snorkeling in the Antarctic waters.
In case you are ever attacked by a seal, it will be a sensible idea to allow them to make the initial move. Try to remain calm and make slow movements so as to avoid spooking the creature and provoking aggressive behavior.
Be certain of the fact that seals are usually gentle animals unless you make them feel threatened.