Let us know about some of the most fascinating harbor seal facts including harbor seal diet, habitat, reproduction, species and its physical features. The harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) is a true seal that inhabits all throughout the moderate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. These seals are also referred to as the common seal. The most extensively distributed pinnipeds are eared seals, true seals, and walruses and they exist in the Pacific and Atlantic waters, as well as in the North Seas and Baltic waters. These types of seals are brownish-grey in color and they have V-shaped nostrils. They can grow to a size of about 1.85 meters. There were around 25,000 harbor seals in California back in 1984. These seals more preferably reside along the coast shorelines of the state. These animals primarily feed on codfish, sculpin, herring, hake, flounder, anchovy, and littoral. The population of few species has declined rapidly due to disease and possible encounters with humans accidentally. These species are residing in the Baltic Sea, Greenland, and Hokkaido. These animals are given legal protection by the 1970 Conservation of Seals Act.
Significant Harbor Seal Facts
- The length of the harbor seal measures around 1.85 meters (6.1 feet), with the weight measuring at 132 kg (290 lb).
- The females survive up to 35 years whereas males can only live up to 20 – 25 years.
- These species have their habitats limited to rocky regions and haulout sites.
- The male seals tend to become more aggressive over their mates.
- The females give birth to a single pup which is also looked after by her alone.
- These pups can swim for about four hours soon after their birth. There is blubber underneath their skin that maintains the body temperature.
- The total harbor seal population is about 5 – 6 million; however, a few species in certain habitats are critically endangered.
- Their unmistakable physical appearance shows prominent markings on their skin.
- The males are fairly larger than females.
Where Do Harbor Seals Live | Harbor Seal Facts
The harbor seals are known to travel 50 km in search of food and they spend most of their time under water. These animals are found in freshwater lakes and rivers. They build their habitats in rocky coasts along the shorelines of New England.
What Do Harbor Seals Eat
The harbor seals predominantly feed on cod, whiting, mackerel, anchovy, crabs, mollusks, squid, herring, shrimp, flatfish, sea bass, squid, seabirds, and menhaden.
Reproduction | Harbor Seal Facts
- Unlike other seals, the harbor seals do not form large groups as they are gregarious species.
- These animals do not travel more than 20 km offshore.
- The gestation period lasts for about 9 months.
- The female gives birth to a single pup each year.
- The mother suckles for about 3 – 4 weeks.
- The juveniles weigh around 16 kg.
- Western Atlantic common seals
- Eastern Atlantic common seals
- Pacific common seals
- Insular seals
- Ungava seals