With the 116th Boston Marathon just around the corner, I am always inspired to get out there and start running again. This got me thinking about how the different types of seals at the Aquarium move around on land. Eared seals (all fur seals and sea lions) have adapted to move quickly and easily on land, while true seals, like our harbor seals aren't quite as agile. Why is that?
It all comes down to feet, or in this case, flippers. Fur seals and sea lions have larger flippers and can rotate their back flippers underneath their bodies so they have "four on the floor." Check out Ursula's flippers here.
Other seals have much shorter flippers and their back flippers stay behind them. To move on land they have to move on their bellies, similar to an inchworm.
Now lets see those flippers in action. (Be sure to listen carefully, you can hear Trumpet's belly slapping the ground when she moves!)
We have a few people from the Aquarium running the Marathon on Monday. We wish them and all of the participants the best of luck!
And don't forget, next Friday, April 20, the fur seals will be taking on Team Tiburon in a friendly competition in preparation for the upcoming "Tough Mudder" race. We hope to see you all here at the NEAq cheering on your favorite team. Our next Fitness Friday post will highlight the training techniques used by the seals to prepare, so stay tuned!
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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