• Biodiversity Harbor Seal
  • Harbor Seal

    Phoca vitulina

    The Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) is the most common and widespread pinniped in the world. It is found in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans as well as the Baltic and North Seas. It is, however, restricted to coastlines and is almost never seen more than 20 km offshore.

    Lifespan – How long do Harbor Seals live?

    The lifespan of harbor seals is different between males and females. Female harbor seals have a life expectancy averaging 30 to 35 years. Males on the other hand only live on average 20 to 25 years. It is believed that males endure a great deal more stress during courtship, which may account for their shorter lifespans.

    Mating of Harbor Seals

    Female Harbor Seals will mate with the largest and most powerfull male harbor seal. Males fight over this position to gain access to females.

    What do Harbor Seals eat?

    The main food item for harbor seals is fish such as menhaden, anchovy, seabass, herring, mackerel, cod, whiting, and flatfish. But they can be seen eating shrimp, mollusks, and squid. To get their prey, harbor seals will dive underwater for up to 10 minutes. Generally they dive to 60 feet or less but have been recorded reaching depths of almost 1500 feet.

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    Written by Rob Nelson

    Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is also an award-winning filmmaker. As principle director of Untamed Science productions his goal is to create videos and content that are both entertaining and educational. When he's not making science content, he races slalom kayaks and skydives.

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