Wild sea dogs are not naturally friendly toward humans. 

Human encroachment into their habitat disrupts how they sleep, breed, and eat. Consequently, sea dogs naturally stay away from humans while expecting humans to do the same.

Human interactions sometimes make wild sea dogs lose fear for people and even allow people to come into close contact with them.  

A kayaker experienced this interaction firsthand when a sea dog got into his kayak and continued to hang around as if looking for something it had lost.

Human behavior towards wild animals explains this usual scene.

The Sea Dog Was Looking for Food

 Feeding wild animals changes their attitude toward humans. Instead of fearing people, wild animals will start behaving like domesticated ones by depending on humans for food.

The video of the kayaker shows this behavior. First, the sea dog approaches the kayaker expecting him to throw it some fish. Then, the sea dog jumps into the kayak to look for food when he doesn’t.

Fortunately for the kayaker, the animal does not turn aggressive when it doesn’t find food.

Hungry wild animals could harass humans while seeking to be fed, particularly if they had received food from humans. 

seal
Instead of fearing people, wild animals will start behaving like domesticated ones by depending on humans for food.

Ulrike Jordan/Shutterstock.com

What Do Sea Dogs Eat?

Sea dogs predominantly eat fish.

They will also make a meal from octopuses, krill, and shrimp. Like many seal species, sea dogs prefer diving deep into the ocean, searching for food. 

Sea dogs are equipped for hunting fish, even in turbid waters. 

They use their whiskers to sense movements in water, enabling them to detect a moving fish 100 meters away. In addition, their whiskers are so sensitive that they can detect the shape and size of the fish from that distance.

Detecting the fish type is critical because it enables them to avoid predators such as white sharks and cannibal seals. 

Sea dogs do not have a favorite fish species for food, but any fish near the bottom of the ocean is food to them. Sea dogs can dive and stay underwater for 15 minutes before floating to breathe.

Their changing metabolism enables them to stay underwater for this long. The sea dog’s heart slows down during a deep dive, allowing it to minimize oxygen consumption. 

Sea dogs may be clumsy on land but are acrobatic at sea. Their agility in water makes them excellent hunters. It can reach a swimming speed of 22 mph, more than four times faster than the fastest human.  

Can a Sea Dog Harm Humans?

Yes, and no.

Sea dogs are naturally non-aggressive toward humans. 

Sea dogs accustomed to human presence could be playful and inquisitive. They use their whiskers, mouths, and front flippers to investigate their surroundings. 

Holding your fingers or hand toward a sea dog is not a good idea. They easily get spooked and could accidentally graze or bite you. 

If a seal ever breaks your skin, ensure you get medical services since sea dogs have several bacteria in their mouth that could harm you. 

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