Cute Killers? Gray Seals Maul, Suffocate Seals and Porpoises, Studies Say
Long thought to be fish-eaters, the big-eyed animals have been observed taking on bigger prey in the North Sea.
It seemed a heart-warming sight: two seals apparently frolicking in the sea before slipping below the waves off the German island of Helgoland (map) in 2013.
Then an ominous sheet of red unfurled across the waves. When the pair resurfaced, the bigger seal was skinning and eating its companion. (Also see "Did Grey Seals Mutilate Two Harbour Porpoises?")
"We thought they were playing," says marine biologist Sebastian Fuhrmann of the environmental consulting firm IBL-Umweltplanung, whose photos of the killing of a young harbor seal will appear in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Sea Research. "It looked really cute, but in just a few seconds, it was over."
The triumphant hunter of the harbor seal was, astonishingly,