- Description of the seal
- Where they live
- What do they eat
- Reproduction and description of the Caspian seal pup
- Seal behavior
- Number of Caspian seals
The Caspian seal, also called the Caspian seal, used to belong to the order of pinnipeds, but today this status has been changed, and it is classified as a carnivorous order, a family of true seals. This animal is threatened with extinction for several reasons, but sea pollution is considered the main one.
Description of the seal
The Caspian seal (photo of an adult is shown below) is a small species. In adulthood, the length of his body is on average 1.20-1.50 m, and his weight is 70-90 kg. With a small growth, they are quite thick, and the head is small. There are mustaches. The eyes are large, dark in color. The neck, although short, is noticeable. The front five-fingered limbs are short, they have strong claws. The coat is very smooth and shiny.
The coloration of these seals depends on their age. But in adults, the main tone is a dirty straw-whitish. The back is olive-gray in color and covered with dark irregular spots, the color transition from the belly to the back is smooth. Although the color may be slightly different shades. Males seem to be more contrast than their companions. Alsothey are slightly larger than females and are distinguished by a more massive head with an elongated muzzle.
Where they live
These seals got their name from their habitat. They live only in the Caspian Sea and settle down on the shores, starting from the north of the Caspian and all the way to Iran. Closer to the southern border of the sea, seals are less common.
The Caspian seal regularly performs short seasonal migrations. With the onset of winter, all animals settle down on the ice in the Northern Caspian. When the ice begins to melt, seals gradually move south, and by the beginning of summer they populate the territories of the South and Middle Caspian. In these places, seals can eat well in order to accumulate fat reserves by autumn. With the end of summer, the animals again move to the northern part of the sea.
What do they eat
The Caspian seal mainly feeds on various types of gobies. Also, sprat can be included in the diet. Sometimes they can catch shrimp, amphipods, and atherine. During certain periods, seals eat herring in small quantities. But basically, seals catch gobies all year round without changing their diet.
Reproduction and description of the Caspian seal pup
This type of seal differs from the rest in that its representatives have the shortest period of puppies. It starts at the end of January and ends at the beginning of February. During this short time, almost all females have time to bring offspring. At the end of the seal puppies begin to mate, such a mating seasonalso does not last long, from mid-February to the first days of March, until the animals began to leave the ice of the North Caspian.
As a rule, a female seal brings one baby. The cub weighs about 3-4 kg, and its length reaches about 75 cm. Its almost white fur is silky and soft. The baby of the Caspian seal feeds on milk for a month, during which time it manages to grow up to 90 cm, and its weight increases more than four times. In the middle and at the end of February, while the baby is feeding on milk, he manages to shed and shed his baby white fur. While the babies are shedding, they are called sheepskin coats. After the young seals have completely acquired a new coat, they become sivaris. In sivares, the coat color on the back is plain, dark gray, and light gray on the side of the abdomen. Further, the animal molts every year, and with a new hairline, the color acquires a more contrasting spotting. At the age of one year, the seals are painted in an ash-gray shade, with a dark back, and black-gray spots are already visible on the sides. In young 2-year-old seals, the base tone becomes slightly lighter, and the number of spots increases.
At the age of five, the female seal becomes sexually mature and ready to mate. A year later, she brings her first child. Almost all adult females give birth year after year.
They spend a lot of time at sea. They can fall asleep, turning over on their back and sticking their muzzle out of the water. This type of seal does not likeaccumulate in large crowds on the ice. The female with her baby is usually away from her neighbors. At the beginning of the formation of ice, an ice floe is selected on which the puppy will occur. While the ice is thin, the Caspian seal makes a hole in it, through which it will go out to sea. Thanks to regular use, the eyelets do not freeze, and they can be used all winter. But sometimes these holes have to be widened with strong claws that are on the front fins.
After puppies and mating comes a period of molting. At this time, the ice floe is already decreasing in size, and the seals are compacting. If the seal does not have time to shed before the ice melts, it has to stay in the North of the Caspian, where the molt continues on the sandy island. Usually in April you can see seals lying in groups.
In summer, Caspian seals disperse across the water area and keep apart from each other. Closer to September, they gather in the northeastern side of the sea on shalygs (sand islands). There are dense clusters of females and males of any age.
Number of Caspian seals
Earlier, the number of seals living in the Caspian Sea exceeded a million individuals, but by the 1970s, their population was sharply reduced, and there were no more than 600,000 seals. Since fur skins are in incredible demand, the Caspian seal is the first to suffer from this. The Red Book has assigned this animal the status of "threatened with extinction." This law limits the hunting of seals and allows the slaughter of no more than 50,000 seals per year. But worth itIt should be noted that the decline in numbers is associated not only with human greed, but also with epidemics and pollution of the Caspian waters.