The lovely Delphine is a gray seal. Gray seals, sometimes referred to as “horseheads” because of their pronounced snouts, belong to the true seal family, Phocidae.
Unlike sea lions, true seals do not have external ear flaps. Instead they have ear holes located on the sides of their head and they have small front flippers and large trailing hind flippers which aid in swimming, but are useless for movement on land. Gray seals inch along similar to the way a caterpillar would move.
Male gray seals can grow as long as 3 metres (10 feet) and weigh up to 400 kilograms (875 pounds). Females can grow as long as 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) in length and weigh as much as 250 kilograms (550 pounds).
Most gray seals are found in colder climates. They are found along the eastern coasts of Canada and the United States as well as the British Isles, Baltic Sea, Iceland, Russia, Norway and Denmark.
The gray seals diet consists mainly of fish, but they will eat crustaceans, squid and octopus and even sea birds when available.
You can see Delphine, along with her harbour seal companions, at Marineland’s Aquarium Dome.
Some fun facts about Delphine:
- She loves to take long naps on the platform by the aquarium pool
- She uses her long toe nails to tear fish apart before she eats them (yes, she plays with her food – LOL)
- Her favourite thing is fishsicles – she goes crazy for ice
- She’s approximately 26 years old (average life expectancy for gray seals is 25 to 35 years)
- Her coat changes colour twice a year – she will go from what our animal care team members affectionately call her “blonde bombshell” to “silver fox” depending on the season