This pet is frozen!This pet has been frozen in order to prevent it from growing.
Name: Digger MBirthday: 07-01-2011
Type: Harp Seal
Rarity: Referral Exclusive
Harp Seals are part of the family Phocidae, known as the "true" or "earless" seals because they lack external ear flaps. They have a muscular body, relatively small, broad, flat head, and a narrow snout that contains eight pairs of teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. Their front flippers have thick, strong claws, and on their hindflippers, the inner and outer digits are longer and have small, narrow claws. Phocids are unable to rotate these back flippers underneath them to walk, and instead use their front flippers to pull themselves along on land with a hitching motion. Adults are approximately 5-6 ft (1.7 m) long, and weigh around 300 lbs (135 kg), with light gray fur, a black face, and a horseshoe-shaped black saddle on their back which looks like a harp and gives rise to their common name. Harp Seals are modest divers by pinniped standards. The average maximum dive is to about 1,200 feet (370 m), with a duration of approximately 16 minutes. They eat a variety of fish and invertebrates, but mainly focus on smaller fish such as capelin, arctic and polar cod, and invertebrates including krill, and are prey in turn for polar bears, killer whales, and sharks.
Females travel south to give birth to their pups from late February to mid-March, who are nursed on high-fat milk for approximately 12 days, during which they gain about 5 lbs (2.2 kg) per day and develop a thick blubber layer. At birth, Harp Seals are just under 3 feet (1 m) long, and weigh about 25 lbs (11 kg). Called "whitecoats," newborns have long, wooly, white fur known as "lanugo", the stage at which they are taken commercially, giving rise to so much outcry and publicity. They then undergo a complicated series of "molts" before reaching adult coloration. Harp seal pups are abruptly weaned from their mothers when they weigh approximately 80 lbs (36 kg). The females leave their pups on the ice, where they remain without eating for approximately 6 weeks, and may lose up to half of their body weight before they enter the water and begin feeding on their own. After pups are weaned and left alone, Harp Seals are ready to mate again. After fertilization, adult females undergo a period of suspended development known as "delayed implantation" during which embryos do not attach to the uterine wall for three months or more. This allows all females to give birth during the limited period of time when pack ice is available.
Harp Seal pups, cute and photogenic, are one of the chief poster children for the animal cruelty movement. While the practice of clubbing the pups for their fur is indeed deplorable, human activity actually accounts for a fairly small fraction of their annual losses. Their population is estimated at between 5 and 6 million for just one of their three regional groups, and they are not considered a species at risk. Like all pinnipeds and cetaceans, they are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.