The seals' secret weapon

May 22nd, 2018

In cold and icy Antarctica lives a seal species called a Weddell Seal. Weddell Seals are large and abundant. They are steel-grey tinted with lighter, white or yellow spots all over their body. Weddell Seals seem heavy and slow on the ice, but in the water they are zippy and speedy. They can dive 600 meters deep and for 70 minutes at a time. The animals live closer than any other mammal to the South Pole, in water that is so cold you would freeze to death in it.


Although this is not what is really surprising about them. What you would never guess is the secret weapon of these animals. Weddell Seals are able to produce a volume of more than 190 decibels. To compare: a car produces a volume of 70 decibels and the voice of a person is some 50 decibels. You see: the seal’s sound is really loud. It is so loud, that you do not hear the sound, but feel it as a physical pain that paralyses you. The seals normally use it to paralyse their prey so they can catch it easily. They use it too to communicate at distances of many kilometres. But in some cases, they also attack their enemies or rivals with this secret weapon.


There was also one human who was attacked by it. He was photographing the beauty of the ocean and, fortunately having a scuba tank, went on breathing under the water despite being unconscious. But be warned: if I were you, I would not swim in the Antarctica. You never know when a Weddell Seal may attack you…