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Meet the seals! Part one

Since my return from Antarctica, the questions I’ve most often received are…

  • ‘Did you name the seals and if so, what were their names?’
  • ‘How did you pick the names?’
  • ‘What was the largest seal you tagged?’
  • ‘What was the smallest seal you tagged?’
  • ‘How many of the seals were male and how many were female?’
  • ‘How old were the seals?’

These are all excellent questions so I thought I’d give you some of these basic facts – along with a ‘glamor shot’ (or two) of each!

Seal 1 – ‘Aussie’

Meet AussieMeet Aussie – the first seal we tagged.

Aussie’s name was chosen because during our first official outing we met another group of Weddell seal scientists from Australia – so we named Seal 1 Aussie.

Here are some of Aussie’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 405 kg (893 lbs.)
  • Standard Length (how long) 254 cm (8.3 ft.)

Aussie in the waterAussie in the water – sporting both the satellite tag (on her head) and the VHF tag (in the middle of her back). Can you see both tags?

Seal 2 – ‘Patches’

Meet PatchesTake a look and the dark spots around the seals eye. Doesn’t it look almost like she’s wearing an eye patch? Well, she’s not, but this patch-like feature is caused when the seals fur gets wet. In this case it’s from the tears coming from her eyes. All the seals we saw had this feature.

Here are some of Patches' basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 351 kg (774 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 236 cm (7.7 ft.)

Patches and KimPatches getting a belly rub from Kim.

Seal 3 – ‘Kiwi’

Meet KiwiKiwi was the first seal tagged near New Zealand’s Scott Base. Since New Zealanders are nicked named ‘Kiwi’s – that’s how she got her name.

Here are some of Kiwi’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 484 kg (1067 lbs.) Wow!
  • Standard Length 258 cm (8.5 ft.)

KiwiKiwi wins the prize for ‘tipping the scales’ (weighing the most). You get a glimpse of that in this picture. Look at how wide she is!

Seal 4 – ‘Stretch’

Meet StretchThis was the longest seal we tagged so we named her ‘Stretch’!

Here are some of Stretch’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 440 kg (970 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 264 cm (8.7 ft.)

Stretch and AlexSee how much longer Stretch is than me – Wow!

Seal 5 – ‘Chance’

Meet ChanceWe thought we’d take a ‘chance’ and ventured north in a helicopter to tag some seals. Well, this ‘chance’ paid off and so the name stuck.

Here are some of Chance’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 386 kg (851 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 262 cm (8.6 ft.)

Seal 6 – ‘Sniffer’

Meet SnifferThis was one very curious seal! She seemed to be constantly sniffing at us – and the things around us.

Here are some of Sniffer’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 332 kg (732 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 246 cm (8.1 ft.)

Seal 7 – ‘Fluffy’

Meet FluffyAlthough it’s hard to tell from this picture, this seal had the warmest, fluffiest fur we had seen so far. So, Fluffy was the unanimous choice.

Here are some of Fluffy’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 416 kg (917 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 254 cm (8.3 ft.)

Seal 8 – ‘Snout’

Meet SnoutWhile it wasn’t actually measured, this seal had what we thought was the longest snout.

Here are some of Snout’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 429 kg (946 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 260 cm (8.5 ft.)

Seal 9 – ‘Model’

Meet ModelJust like a model – posing for the camera!

Here are some of Model’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Female
  • Weight 349 kg (769 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 254 cm (8.3 ft.)

Seal 10 – ‘Tripp’

Meet TrippTripp was tagged near the beautiful Tripp Bay. He was also the first male seal tagged and weighed the least – only 487 lbs.!

Here are some of Tripp’s basic ‘stats’.

  • Male – The first male seal tagged!
  • Weight 221 kg (487 lbs.)
  • Standard Length 219 cm (7.2 ft.)