Boone and Minnow, two male gray seals, have joined the other pinnipeds on regular rotation at the Louisville Zoo’s Glacier Run exhibit. Both seals come to Louisville from Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.
Minnow (bottom right), who is 31 years old, and Boone (top right),13, join California sea lions Triton (28), Bart (25), Gremlin (14), Riva (4), along with harbor seal Toney (16) and gray seal Rona (4) in the popular habitat.
The Louisville Zoo has a rich history with this species of animal. Eight seal pups have been born at the Zoo and when twin seal pups were born in 1979, they were the first twins to be documented in a managed system such as a Zoo.
Gray seals are natively found in temperate and subarctic waters on both sides of the North Atlantic. Seals have good senses to help them hunt. Their eyesight is excellent because of the time they spend underwater. Baby seals, called pups, are born with a soft, white hair coat called the lanugo. By the time they are weaned the lanugo is molted and the pups assume the adult coloration. Seal pups don’t swim until they have molted. Seal pups are weaned after nursing only four weeks during which they gain 100 pounds. Gray seals can sleep underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time. This species can be distinguished from harbor seals by their longer noses, wider set nostrils and size, which is approximately twice as large as harbor seals. They primarily eat fish.
The Louisville Zoo, a nonprofit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
You can visit the Louisville zoo at 1100 Trevilian Way. Gates are open 10am through 5pm until September 23. From September 23 through March 15, gates are open 10am to 4pm.