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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Field Note: Crab-Eater Seals Take a Break

Published: July 24, 2020

By Mark Seth Lender

A crab-eater seal lounges (Photo: (c) Mark Seth Lender)

Living on Earth's Mark Seth Lender shares a brief reflection about the crab-eater seals he observed enjoying a well-deserved rest.

Seal, both true or earless seals (the Phocidae) and the eared seals (the Otariidae) are as far as I can tell, creatures of territory. The same herds come to the same beaches to breed, the same tidal rocks to haul out, across generations. Crabeater are something of an exception. They haulout wherever. Whenever. Would that make them less than territorial? So flexible in their relationships with others of their kind? I have not spent enough time with them to form an opinion. But it is an interesting idea, that to be itinerant is to be unattached. And is not the lack of attachment the sine qua non of tolerance? We who defend every inch might be well served to think about that.

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