Seals are semi-aquatic mammals mentioned briefly in the How to Train Your Dragon Book series.
The term seals may be applied to any member of the Clade Pinnipedia, even sea lions. However, 'seal' more specifically refers to members of the Family Phocidae, otherwise known as 'true seals' or 'earless seals'. Earless seals are so-called because they lack any external ear pinna (ear flap), whereas sea lions and furred seals do. They also more generally have to crawl and push themselves with their flippers on land, whereas sea lions and fur seals are somewhat better adapted to walking or shuffling along. Most true seals live in both polar regions of the globe, with a few species inhabiting temperate waters and one species, the Baikal seal, inhabiting a large, Russian freshwater lake.
True seals are well adapted for energy-saving swimming, allowing them to venture far from land to find food. Their body shape is more streamlined and torpedo-like than sea lions. They also have some morphological adaptations for deep-sea diving.
Elephant seals are one oft-known species. Male elephant seals - called bulls - get very large and have a short trunk-like proboscis on their snouts. This is mostly used for producing very loud calls, but also helps maintain moisture in the body from the air breathed. Elephant seals are sometimes also called 'sea elephants'.
Seals do not have a specific function in the Book series, but do in real life. There is some evidence that seals have been hunted for their meat and blubber for many thousands of years.
Seals are mentioned in the Book series as a descriptor to describe other creatures or body parts.
Seals are mentioned briefly in this book when describing the slow awakening of the Green Death after centuries in Sleep Coma under the sea.
|“||But the previous week, a Killer Whale who had chased some seals unexpectedly deep was surprised to notice a slight movement in the upper eyelid of the dragon's right eye.||”|
|— Book 1|
When out to practice treasure-sniffing, Toothless only finds useless items. However Fireworm and Snotlout fair much better, finding jewelry and a silver plate. Fireworm brags at her treasure-sniffing ability, which Toothless rebukes.
|“||Naturally," said Toothless, "if you have a nose the s-s-size of an elephant seal it m-m-makes life easy for you.||”|
|— Book 2|
'Sea elephants' (elephant seals) are mentioned again, this time describing the Hooligans.
|“||... the Hairy Hooligans rushed out of their front doors like a crowd of jubilant sea elephants.||”|
|— Book 2|
Seals are mentioned when describing the selfish nature of dragons.
|“||Appearances, of course, were deceptive, for dragons are among the most selfish animals on the planet, and Toothless was, in fact, a shark in a baby seal's clothing.||”|
|— Book 3|
Seals are also mentioned in this Book as one of the many species of wildlife found in the Sea-Known-As-Woden's-Bathtub.