Harbor Seals

Short front flippers and they inability to “walk” on land separates harbor seals from their close relatives — walruses and sea lions. Harbor seals swim by moving their hind flippers from side-to-side like a fish. On land, their hind flippers remain extended behind their bodies and they inch forward like a caterpillar.

Unlike most other pinnipeds, harbor seal pups can swim at birth. They only nurse from their mother for about four to six weeks. Then they must learn to forage for food on their own.

Connect with our harbor seals during feeding time at Pacific Point. Sea lions are right next door, so you can test your skills at comparing and contrasting these similar species.

Q: Where do harbor seals live?
SW: They’re found in temperate, arctic, and subarctic waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. In Quebec, Canada, a small population of harbor seals lives in freshwater lakes.

Q: What do they eat?
SW: They feast on a variety of fishes, squids, octopuses, shrimps and crabs.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: Fully grown males reach lengths of just over 4.5 to 6.5 feet, while females reach lengths of 4 feet to 5.5 feet.