Undulating Seal Flesh

children's pool harbor seals

Harbor Seals lying on the Beach at the Chlidren’s Pool in La Jolla.   Note how each of  the seals is lying by itself

Today’s Daily Post Word Prompt was Undulating.  I happened to be by the Children’s Pool in La Jolla today where I saw several harbor seals undulating across the sand as they moved between wave and land.

Undulate is to move in a smooth, wavelike motion.

It is almost an onomatopoeia word that sounds like the motion it describes.  With their short stubby flippers, seals continue that wave-like motion, even after they haul their torpedo shaped bodies past the surf line.

Harbor Seals are true seals, with no visible ear flaps.  The haul out site in La Jolla is one of the rare sites near an urban area.  They are site faithful and remain near the same haul-out, resting, and birthing area also known as a rookery.  For more facts about harbor seals, click here.

Unlike their more gregarious relatives, the thigmotactic California sea lions, harbor seals may congregate on the beach, but each likes to have his/her own space.  They are mostly quiet and do not like to be touched or jostled.  They are not able to sit up like sea lions do and spend most their time looking like little seal sausages, undulating or rolling around on the sand.

The only harbor seal I ever saw vocalizing and posturing for food was one in the seal/sea lion pool at Sea  World.  I think he learned that behavior from the sea lions and wanted his share of the fish being thrown at the louder, rowdier pinniped panhandlers.


4 thoughts on “Undulating Seal Flesh”

  1. “Undulate” is indeed onamatopoetic. It’s also derived from the same Latin root that gives the French the word “onde”, which sounds a lot more wavy to me than “wave”. The word that made me snap to attention in your post, though, was “thigmotactic”, which almost looks like a misspelling but isn’t. I don’t think I have seen that word more than once. All I had was a vague recollection of something to do with mazes, so I looked it up. It’s used to describe organisms that like to be next to things like walls instead of out in the middle of empty space. (Sort of like Wild Bill Hickock should have been — back to the wall instead of to an open door.) So, I assume that California Sea Lions stay close to shore and don’t like the open ocean as much as Harbor Seals. Nice word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thigmotactic are animals that like to lounge around on each other–huddle in a group. Sea Lions use each other as pillows and mattresses. Harbor Seals each like to have their own space–no touching appreciated. Thanks for commenting.


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