Sunrise Seal: 36 Days Old

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Sunrise Seal: 36 Days Old

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Kauai
May 04, 2009

There are days I’d like to bury my head in the sand: When the phone rings too much. When the computer acts wonky. When my to-do list grows instead of shortens. I’ve witnessed many adult Hawaiian monk seals bury their heads in the sand. Here, our mama pops her head out of the sand. I have no idea why she inched forward with her head pivoted downward so that the sand covered her noggin. Was it to cool off? Or to keep the sun out of her eyes? Or to hide from the stresses of seal life? Whatever her reason, she didn’t stay in that position for long. Maybe only a couple minutes. She can’t breathe when her head is buried, so she can only stay cocooned in sand for as long as she can hold her breath. Adult seals can take a breath of air and dive for up to 20 minutes, before surfacing to breathe again. Our pup’s record breath-hold that I’ve recorded is nearly four minutes. So far, though, pup hasn’t learned the head-in-the-sand trick. I’m betting it’s because life is just a day at the beach for her. No worries of food. No fear of predators. No concerns for anyone. After all, she has mom. But not for long. Once mom weans her growing–and might I add, demanding–offspring, I wonder if pup will start burying her head in the sand.

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