DO SEALS HAVE TAILS?

While photographing the beautiful young Harbor Seal at Brace Cove this week I noticed a large protuberance centered between the seal’s hind flippers. It’s soft fur looked buffy gold in the morning light and it was much easier to see the seal’s anatomical parts than when photographing a darker, more mature seal. I at first thought the prominent knob was its penis, but after googling, discovered, no, it was a tail! However, I can’t find any answers as to what use the tail is employed. 

The bulging, rounded cone-shape between the seal’s hind flippers is a tail.

When Harbor Seals are on land their hind flippers are often closed together but this little guy was in a lolling mood. I watched him from my perch, where I was curled up on the rocks for some time, as he stretched, scratched, slept, and yawned.

The Harbor Seal’s V-shaped, or as I like to think of it as heart-shaped, nose nostrils close when underwater.

I think the seal is molting. Harbor Seals molt once a year and the fur of younger seals (up until about three years of age) is more uniform in color.

Harbor Seals, like all phocids, have ear holes, but no external ear flaps.

The Harbor Seal feeds predominantly on fish such as herring, mackerel, hake, salmon, flounder, and cod. They also eat shrimp, squid, clams, crab,  octopus, and crayfish. They swallow prey whole or tear into pieces, and use their back molars to crush shellfish. Typically the seals feed at high tide and rest during low tide. Everyday, the adult Harbor Seal eats approximately five percent of its body weight. 

Its hind flippers propel the seal through water, in a sort of sculling rhythm. True seals, like Harbor Seals, cannot rotate their hind flippers and that is why they scooch along on their bellies when on dry land.

The blunt one- to two-inch claws of the fore flippers are used for grooming and for defense. 


Harbor Seal grooming with its claws.

I went hoping for a beautiful sky and and found both sky and beautiful Harbor Seal.

Harbor Seal at sunrise, Brace Cove

Your New Year’s Exercise Resolution Solution!

Cape Ann Wellness

It’s January 1.  You’ve eaten and drunk way too much.  Time to pay the piper and make a resolution regarding your fitness and health.  But you might not be in peak condition or may have injuries or just plain haven’t exercised in a while.  What’s a person to do?

If you are looking for an gateway exercise program, perhaps Nia is for you.

Most folks aren’t familiar with Nia.  It is a no-impact, adjustable, safe way to get fit.  Safe moves to great music.  Based in therapeutic movement, Nia draws from the likes of tai chi, yoga, taekwando, Alexander Technique, Modern and Jazz.  All movements can be adapted to your physical level.  You can even do it in a chair or you can really ramp it up and get a great, safe. fun workout.  Here is a link showing founder, Debbie Rosas with her latest routine, Wild!

Come try…

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Went over to Parker River Wildlife Refuge the other day

We saw a sweet Snowy Owl on the dunes.  The Snowy was far away and the sun was going down but did get a photo.  She looked so pretty sitting there.  There was also a pretty woodpecker doing what they do.