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This Newborn Seal Pup Was Kidnapped Before Even Exiting The Birth Canal

In this slightly uncomfortable video captured by Earth Touch, watch a female fur seal give birth near Capetown, South Africa. And then watch another female kidnap the infant pup before it's even left the birth canal. Fair warning: the video is fascinating but not for the squeamish.

So, let me get this straight: first the poor little guy or girl was dragged head first over rocks, then it was snatched up by another female. Then, a gull comes and nibbles at the placenta while it's still attached to the infant. Talk about a rough delivery. When mom tries to get her pup back, the seal-napper reacts quite aggressively.

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Kidnapping isn't entirely unknown in the animal kingdom. In a 1982 paper in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, researchers Marianne Riedman and Burney Le Boeuf describe a similar event among the elephant seals of California's Año Nuevo Island. "A few females aggressively attempted to steal a pup from its mother," they write, but the explanation for the behavior is left to the readers' imagination.

This story has a happy ending, by the way. According to Earth Touch writer Sarah Keartes, the seal went on to take its first swim with its mother.

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DISCUSSION

ToriL.Ridgewood
ToriL.Ridgewood

Maybe the mother was like, "I'm just going to hop along and hope this dangling thing hooks onto something and comes out properly." Like you do when you have something clinging to your shoe. And then the other seal was like, "Here, let me!" But then the mom was all, "Get lost, it's fine, it's my kid!" and the helper seal was like, "You're not in your right mind, you just gave birth!" and then the big seal wades into the fight and is all, "Calm down, ladies, it's fine, the kid's breathing, you're all good…"