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"These seals use their large flippers to move through the sand as if swimming. They were once wild animals but have since been domesticated by the Gerudo. They rely on their excellent hearing to find their way while submerged in the sand. Their large, distinct tusks look pretty ferocious, but their favorite food is actually fruit."
Hyrule Compendium

Sand Seals are a race from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They are walrus-like creatures native of the Gerudo Desert region. Sand Seals are able to quickly traverse the vast desert by swimming through sand. They are known to be frugivorous, wild ones probably subsist off fruits native to the desert region such Hydromelon, Voltfruit and Palm Fruit. However the can also eat fruit not native should as Apples, Wildberry, Hearty Durian, Fleet-Lotus Seeds, Spicy Pepper, and Mighty Bananas. Sand Seals are among the few wild animals that cannot be killed as they will simply flop around if attacked though monsters native to the desert will attack any sand seals on sight presumably due to associating them with desert travelers whom they often prey upon.

Overview

Sand Seals can swim through the sands of Gerudo Desert though will become beached if they hit solid ground, or knock themselves out momentarily if the swim into a wall or rock. Since most areas of the desert are inaccessible to horses, the Gerudo use seals to cross the vast desert by attaching a rope and use a Shield to surf behind them. Surfing behind a Sand Seal does not significantly reduce the shield's durability. However wild Sand Seals like wild horses will flee if they notice people forcing travelers to be stealthy and sneak up on one to attach the rope similar to how Link mounts wild horses and animals. Due to their role as a form of transportation, the Gerudo have domesticated Sand Seals and rent them to female travelers (or men disguised as female) at the Sand-Seal Rental Shop booths which can be easily identified by their Sand Seal pen and the Sand Seal statue that adorn the roof of each booth. Sand Seal Racing is a traditional sport among the Gerudo. Participants may use wild sand seals in the races. According to Pearle the three tamed Sand Seals at the Southeast Booth are named Sue, Nah, and Zarashi whom Pearle often visitsto see how they are doing as she finds them to be cute and may wish to ride one when she is older as Sand Seal surfing is implied to be learned when Gerudo are older. In addition to Sand Seal taming and racing, Sand Seals have become a popular aspect of Gerudo culture to the point some people such as Riju and Padda have stuffed toys modelled after Sand Seals in their rooms. The small area near Riju's palace used by Gerudo Town children as a playground and meeting place features a crude child's graffiti chalk drawing of a sand seal on one of the nearby walls.

One of the most notable Sand Seals is the oracle Patricia who is owned by Gerudo Chief Riju. Patricia will provide prophecies and other words of wisdom if a fruit is offered to her. As she is unable to speak, her caretaker Panna will translate her barks, although she often omits the "seal" based word puns that Patricia often uses. However even some Gerudo like the Sand Seal tamer Frelly can't resist making seal puns and Link even makes them in his responses when renting Sand Seals. Additionally Patricia is implied to be faster than other sand seals to the point she can avoid Vah Naboris' lighting when Riju took her out to investigate the Divine Beast which reappeared after a century of dormancy. Wild Sand Seal have yellow bodies and brown manes, while Rental Sands have orange bodies with red manes and flippers with yellow flipper tips. Interestingly though wild Sand Seals are not completely domesticated they all are outfited with harnesses for surfing indicating the Gerudo have a history of equipping them to wild Sand Seal allowing them to be used as free transportation while making the process more humane as without them Link and Gerudo would need to tie their rope to the Sand Seal's body which could unnecessarily harm and/or distress the wild Sand Seal. Wild Sand Seals are apparently used to being handled even though they are not fully domesticated similar to wild horses Link has tamed but not completely bonded with or registered. Frelly raises domesticated rental Sand Seals for the Sand-Seal Rental Shops though the practice of taming and fully domesticating Sand Seals is apparently more difficult than taming and domesticating wild horses though most wild horses are implied to be descended from domestic stock that bred with wild ones and horses have been domesticated far longer.

It is implied the ancient Gerudo horse culture seen in Ocarina of Time was lost and replaced when they switched to Sand Seal surfing and as a result no Gerudo rides a horse outside Gerudo Desert despite the availability of horses and stables. Additionally the Gerudo's knowledge of horseback archery was lost along with the Hylians' knowledge of the art as Jini suggests it was invented in the east presumably at the Equestrian Riding Course in East Necluda despite it existing since Ocarina of Time indicating it was lost and rediscovered though presumably only by Hylians who retained their historical horse culture, though the Gerudo apparently pioneered the art of Sand Seal-based archery (as only bows can be wielded effectively while Sand Seal surfing), as they developed a new culture around Sand Seal surfing to replace their lost horse culture. Interestingly, Hylian Shield Surfers show no interest or awareness of Sand Seal surfing however they may be viewed as similar but different sports similar to how real world surfing is different from snowboarding despite their relative similarity. However as Sand Seal only live in Gerudo Desert and domesticated Sand Seals can only be rented in Gerudo Town this creates barriers that prevent it from becoming popular among Hylians while shield surfing is more easily accessible to both genders as one of the sport's legends is a woman named Selmie despite it being popular with male Hylians as well.

During his quest, Link uses Sand Seals as a method of traveling quickly through the desert. He can use either a wild one or a rent one from Gerudo Town. Link can tame a wild Sand Seal by approaching it from behind and attaching a rope. However, wild Sand Seals will flee if Link runs away, leaves the sandy area, or does not remount fast enough. One of Patricia's hints reveals that Link can stun wild Sand Seals using Remote Bombs and catch one without sneaking up on it indicating she has no trouble revealing such information despite being a Sand Seal herself. Bomb Arrows also have the same effect on Sand Seal as Remote Bombs. All Sand Seal enjoy fruit which can be used to distract wild Sand Seals. Feeding fruit to rental Sand Seals has no effect beyond them barking happily then consuming it as only Patricia gives prophecies and words of wisdom.

It is implied they evolved to move quickly through sand to avoid predation by local Moldugas and the rarer Molduking which are known to eat anything they can grab even inedible objects like Treasure Chests thus Molduga and Moldking are implied to consume any sand seal they can conceivably catch. However Sand Seals are smart enough to avoid the areas they inhabit unless ridden into these areas via Sand Seal surfing. However even completely tamed sand seal can be spooked by monsters as Patricia was spooked by a monster while Riju was returning to Gerudo Town after investigating Vah Naboris though both Patricia and Riju survived the accidental encounter.