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Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina


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Harbor Seals
credit: Andreas Trepte/CCSA

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Family: Phocidae, Hair Seals view all from this family

Description A wide-ranging grayish seal usually found hauled out on rocks. Color pattern may be dark with irregular pale rings or pale with dark splotches. Pups typically molt in utero and are born with a dark pelage. Often has banana-shaped profile when on rocks.

Dimensions 1.4-1.9m, 75-150kg; / 1.2-1.7m, 60-110kg

Habitat Beaches, shorelines & estuaries, Offshore waters

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, California, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion Typically shy when hauled out, but sometimes habituate to humans. Most populations are recovering with recent protection from hunting. Although capable of traveling long distances, most do not migrate, and are year-round residents. Capable of diving to 450m and staying underwater for 30 minutes. Feeds on wide variety of fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Common on undisturbed beaches, ledges, and rocks.