Let's see those pearly whites...or yellows, or blacks! Teeth. That is the word of the day. Here you can see three sets of teeth; Atlantic harbor seal teeth, Lindsay's teeth, and northern fur seal teeth. Can you guess which set of chompers belong to whom?
All seals have teeth, and they all vary from species to species. Humans have 32 teeth, pinnipeds (the scientific name for seals, sea lions and walrus) have an average of 34 to 38 . The seals' teeth are very sharp--even the molars! The reason that the molars aren't flat is because they don't chew their food like we do. They use those pointy teeth to grasp and shred fish that are too big to swallow whole.
Since seals can develop plaque build-up and gum disease just like people, we have trained all the harbor seals, and most of the fur seals, to allow us to brush their teeth. This is a very important husbandry behavior that we maintain every day. Be sure to check back for a blog on that in the near future!
(p.s. #1 is a harbor seal named Reggae, #2 is a northern fur seal named Ursula and #3 is me!)
Marine Mammal Trainers
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We train the Aquarium's Atlantic harbor seals and Northern fur seals for enrichment and to build a trusting relationship that allows for regular medical checkups. Read our posts to learn about what's new with the animals and how we train behaviors.
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