Seals in Santa Cruz swimming in tight "school" - what are they doing?
May 5, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Seals in Santa Cruz swimming in tight "school" - what are they doing?

We were checking out the seals at the end of the wharf in Santa Cruz who were mostly swimming solo. Then a cloud of maybe 20 small-medium sized seals (compared to the larger, less active seals) were swimming around each other and making a lot of physical contact. A couple pairs seemed to be mating, but we really weren't sure. At one point the whole group of seals went under water at once and didn't re-emerge for some time.

What is this behavior? Where can I read more about it?
posted by jander03 to Pets & Animals (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you sure they weren't sea lions? Sea lions hunt in packs like that (I'm sure that's not the right terminology), and are generally more gregarious in the water than seals.

Some facts about the California sea lion.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:27 AM on May 5, 2014

Here's a good video that shows some of sea lions' group behavior.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:59 AM on May 5, 2014

Yes - they may have been sea lions! And they certainly seemed "gregarious."

As for what they were doing, I'm not sure that they were hunting as they didn't seem to be looking for things to eat... but maybe.
posted by jander03 at 11:32 AM on May 5, 2014

I believe you're seeing 'rafting', which freaked me out the first time I saw it. I ended up calling some type of fisheries / game department thinking they were caught in nets. Nope.
posted by efalk at 6:22 PM on May 5, 2014

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