What Do Seals Eat?


What Do Seals Eat?

Few creatures are as cute as a tiny seal pup. On land, these sluggish creatures are pretty amusing to watch as they shuffle around, but in the water, they convert into swift, agile hunters with exceptional hunting prowess.

Seals are semi-aquatic marine mammals belonging to the Odobenidae family, generally known as pinnipeds. Currently, there are 33 species of seals, although there were once many more. Sadly, there are already 50 extinct species of seal.

Although the many species of seals have a fairly similar appearance, their sizes can differ greatly. The largest species of seal, the elephant seal, may grow to a height of up to 5 meters and weigh up to 3,500 kg, while the Baikal seal is only around 1 meter long and weighs up to 45 kg.

In the winter, seals don’t hibernate. They are active all year long. They must consume a lot of food in the summer in order to store a layer of blubber that will protect them from the cold in the winter. This layer of blubber serves as a fallback food supply during the winter months when food is in short supply.

What Do Seals Eat?

What Do Seals Eat?


Every type of seal catches and consumes fish. They like to eat any kind of fish they can find. They typically favor fish species that are found near to the ocean floor. They enjoy eating flatfish, smaller sandeels, and cod but will also consume other kinds of fish depending on the season.


Seals will pursue and consume cephalopods. These creatures, which belong to the molluscan order, include squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and nautilus species. Cephalopods often feature a protruding head, arms or tentacles, and a spineless body.

Not all types of seals like eating cephalopods as food. However, other species, such as the Ross seal and southern elephant seal, favor squid and use these cephalopods as their primary source of food.


Seals can eat a wide range of creatures with hard shells because of their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. They can consume a variety of crustaceans, including crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, prawns, krill, woodlice, and barnacles.

While the ringed seal primarily consumes crustaceans, the crabeater seal primarily consumes krill.

Sea birds

Seabirds are a favorite food of seals. They enjoy visiting bird nests to eat chicks or eggs and will also catch birds that they see drifting on the water. Birds that are found near the sea are what seals typically eat.

Seagulls and other fish-hunting birds are also eaten by seals, who also frequently catch and consume penguins.

Diet Variations

Seals consume just meat. They are unlikely to eat algae or plant stuff. However, they do provide a pretty peculiar diet option. Although researchers are unsure of the exact reason, seals frequently swallow stones and pebbles. They can also drink seawater, but typically the foods they eat provide enough moisture.

How to Feed Seals

How to Feed Seals

What Do Seals Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, seals eat fish, penguins, crabs, krill, squid, and other items that are present in their ecological environments. Although seals typically do not move, they might if there is no food in their natural environment.

What Do Seals Eat In Captivity?

Seals kept in captivity are fed on krill, squid, and tiny fish. In captivity, seals like consuming a wide variety of seafood, and they can be trained to entertain crowds while being given fish in exchange for their efforts.

What do Baby Seals Eat?

Seal pups are the young animals. Puppies often stay on land for about a month as their waterproof fur develops before beginning to swim. Mammals like seals get their nutrition by sipping from their moms. After a month, mothers of seal pups will offer them fish so they can start eating solid food. Puppies lose a lot of weight when they are initially weaned from their moms. While they are learning how to hunt, they might lose up to one-third of their body weight. When the puppy is ready, it will go with its mother and begin learning how to forage for food on its own.

How Much Do Seals Eat?

Seals often consume 4 to 6 percent of their body weight each day. A typical grey male seal needs between 15 and 23 kg of food per day and weighs about 400 kg. A harbor seal needs only 5 to 9 kg of food each day and weighs an average of 136 kg.

The elephant seal, which weighs around 2040 kg, requires 81–123 kg of food to feed on each day.

How Often Do Seals Eat?

Seals must feed often during specific months in order to store a lot of blubber. However, while they are still nursing their young, female puppies move quickly.

Because food can be in short supply throughout the winter, seals consume considerably less during this time. Seals will rely on their fat reserves to get them through the winter.

Do Seals Bite Humans?

Seals can be quite hazardous. If they feel threatened, they may strike out and bite people. Some have even been observed swimming up to people on boats and biting them. When they bite you, the bacteria on their skin and fangs might enter your body. Seals can be quite problematic because these bacteria can lead to illnesses.

Additionally completely capable of slicing through your skin in milliseconds are their razor-sharp teeth.

Do Seals Eat Penguins?

In fact, seals do hunt and consume penguins. Penguins can be caught in the water or on the islands. Particularly prone to catch and consume penguins are fur seals.

Do Seals Drink Water?

Although they can drink seawater, seals rarely do. They typically do not need to drink water since they normally acquire enough moisture from the food they eat. The seal will nonetheless drink water while swimming if it is especially hot, and they typically drink a lot of water when they are swallowing their prey whole underwater.


What is special about seals?

Seals have a thick coating of blubber that protects them from the cold; a transparent membrane covers their eyes; their nostrils close; and their blood circulation to most of their organs is decreased while diving. Additionally, they have sensitive whiskers that enable them to find prey in gloomy water.

How are seals useful to us?

Seals assist in cycling nutrients through the water column and moving them from the sea to the land through their movements. We make sure that decisions about public policy benefit animals. Without affecting the livelihoods of those who rely on the ocean, we improve its safety and health.

Why can seals be touched?

The Marine Mammal Protection Act safeguards seals. To touch, feed, or otherwise annoy seals is against the law. Every time your behavior modifies their behavior, harassment has taken place. To allow them their space, it is required that you remain at least 50 yards, or four car lengths, away.

Are seals very intelligent?

Seals. The intelligence, curiosity, and coordination of wild seals make it easy for them to pick up tricks in captivity. They are extremely observant and naturally protective; one instance of a seal saving a puppy from drowning has even been documented.

What makes seals special?

Seals contribute to the stability of the food web as one of the keystone species in marine environments. Fish, squid, and crustaceans are eaten by seals. Larger predators like orcas, polar bears, and sharks rely heavily on seals as a food supply.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author