Harbor seal

Slows the heartbeat from 80 bpm to 3-4 bpm before a deep dive; quickly accelerates after surfacing

Marcel Burkhard

The harbor seal is the most common and is relatively small compared to other seal species. They have two pelage patterns: silver, light tan, or blue-grey with dark spots to black, brown, or grey with light rings. Their fur is thick and short, with a coarse outer coat, fine undercoat, and glands in the skin to secrete oil to waterproof the fur. Thick blubber is also present under the skin to help maintain body temperature.

They are carnivores that consume fish such as mackerel, cod, and herring, as well as octopuses, squid, and crustaceans. The pups mainly consume shrimp. Because of their diet, they were considered competitors of fishermen and were hunted until 1960.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Pacific ocean
170,000
Official estimate
LC
2016
Eastern Pacific Harbor Seal
Atlantic Ocean
65,000
Official estimate
LC
2016
Eastern Atlantic Harbor Seal
Atlantic Ocean
60,000
Official estimate
LC
2016
Western Atlantic Harbor Seal
North Sea
2016
Baltic Sea
2016
Belgium
2016
Canada
2016
Denmark
2016
Finland
2016
France
2016
Germany
2016
Greenland
2016
Iceland
2016
Ireland
2016
Japan
2016
Mexico
2016
Netherlands
2016
Norway
2016
Portugal
2016
Seasonality Uncertain
Russia
2016
Spain
2016
Seasonality Uncertain
Svalbard
2016
Sweden
2016
United Kingdom
2016
United States
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No