Mammal Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Phoca vitulina
Harbour Seal


Distinguishing Features - Length: male 1.4 - 1.9 m, female 1.2 - 1.7 m); weight: male 140 kg, female 80 kg. Overall colouration: highly variable; two main color types: white, light gray, yellowish gray, or brownish; with dark spots: and black, gray, or brown with light rings. Most often yellowish gray or brownish with dark spots; spotted creamy white below. Sometimes colored with an orange, rust, or green cast. Nostrils close together in a "V"-shape. Male considerably larger than female.

Harbour Seal Habitat

In the Arctic seas of North America and Asia; practically all the way around the north of Canada, from the Maratimes, around Hudson Bay to Alaska, south to California; in coastal waters, mouths of rivers, beaches, and rocky shores.


Mainly rockfish, herring, cod, mackerel, flounder and salmon; also mollusks, squid, clams, and octopus; sometimes crayfish, crab, and shrimp.


Harbor Seals spend a great deal of time basking on beaches and rocky shores, sometimes alone but usually with several other individuals, and occasionally in groups numbering in the thousands.

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