Pinniped Species


Harbor Seal

Scientific Name: Phoca Vitulina
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Phoca
Species: vitulina
Other Common Names: Harbor Seal
Average Length: Males-5-6 ft. Females-3-5 ft.
Average Weight: Males-200-250lbs. Females-100-150lbs.

Harbor seals are generally non-migratory and occur on both the U.S east and west coasts. On the east coast, harbor seals are found from the Canadian Arctic to New Jersey and occasionally in the Carolinas. On the west coast, harbor seals are found in the coastal and estuarine waters from British Columbia, Canada to Baja, California. They are found further west through the Gulf of Alaska and in the Bering Sea.


Harbor seals have small front flippers only about the size of a human hand. They also lack external ear flaps or pinnae. Instead, they have internal ears so all you are able to see is a small hole or bump about an inch behind their eye. Harbor seals' color varies but they often have a blue-gray back with light and dark speckling. They have short, dog-like snouts.

Diet in the Wild: Mainly fish, shellfish, and crustaceans

Harbor seals live in temperate coastal habitats and use rocks, reefs, beach, and drifting glacial ice as haul out and pupping sites. Harbor seals haul out on land for rest, thermal regulation, social interaction, and to give birth. Seals also haul out to avoid predators.


Harbor seals mate at sea and females give birth during the spring and summer; although, the pupping season varies with latitude. Pups are nursed for an average of 24 days and are ready to swim minutes after being born.

Conservation Status:

Harbor seals are classified as Low Risk-least concern on the IUCN Red List. Harbor seals are protected by The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 making it illegal to hunt or harass any marine mammal in U.S. waters.

Threats in the Wild:

Incidental catch and entanglement in fishing gear, predators, ship strikes, oil spill exposure, chemical contaminants, power plant entrainment, harassment by humans while hauled out on land, and illness.

Fun Facts: Harbor seal pups can swim at birth and can dive for up to 2 minutes when they are only 2-3 days old.

Harbor Seal

Resident Animals: Bumper|Satara|Scooter