Whether you're on a raft or a ring or simply bobbing at the surface, who doesn't love a relaxing float in the pool? When the seals and sea lions need a rest, they often take to the pool, too. And that's when you can see a really cool fur seal posture called jug handling. Holding their flippers together, away from their body resembles the handle of a jug or pitcher.
|Ursula (foreground) and Chiidax and Kitovi (L to R behind her)|
Jug handling lets the fur seals regulate their body temperature when floating in the 60 F water. You see, the seals have many veins running through their flippers and these veins contain a heated blood supply. By tucking their flippers together in a flipper sandwich and keeping them out of the water, the seals keep the heat from rapidly leaving their flippers and body.
|Note the two lumps of sea lion lazing in the deeper part of the pool|
In the background you can see the sea lions, Zoe and Sierra, logging at the surface. Sea lions sometimes sleep in the water but they don't jug handle. Sometimes they "sail" with a front and/or rear flipper straight up in the air while their body floats. Another difference between the sea lions and fur seals: blubber versus fur. The sea lions have a nice layer of blubber to stay warm, and the fur seals rely on their super-thick fur coats—even when wet.
When they're not relaxing in the pool, these animals are definitely a rambunctious crew. Check out some of their antics in these blog posts: