Harbor Seal

Phoca Vitulina


  • Domain-Eukaryotas; This group contains animals with one nucleus and can be single celled or multi-celled.
  • Kingdom-Animalia; This Kingdom can have organs made up of tissues, parts that have rapid movement, and cells organized in tissues.
  • Phylum-Chordata; The tail covers its anus, 3 germ layers with well developed coelom, and has bilateral symmetry
  • Subphylum-Vertebrata; this animal eats fishes, reptiles, mammals,etc are all vertebrata, the vertebral column can surround the stiffener, and all vertebrates share a vertebral column
  • Class-Mammalian; The class mammalia has about 5000 species that are placed in 26 different orders while some can have hair for all of their life
  • Order-Carnivora;can be recognized by their upper premolar. The teeth can be known as the carnassial pair. These teeth are secondarily modified.
  • Family-Phocidae;can vary in size and some can not bring their hind flippers under their body. They dont have an external ear.
  • Genus-Phoca; Harbor seals
  • Species; P. Vitulina

General Description

Considering the fact that you cannot find the hight of any kind of seal, that will not be necessary. The Length though can be found and used. A baby or newborn harbor seals length can rang from 100 to 756 mm long. A females length can exceed up to 5.6 feet long. A male can soon reach up to 6.6 ft long and slightly larger than the females. When talking about weight, a seal can exceed agents a human by not as much as you think . For instance, a normal, male seals weight can range from 80 to 170 kg. A male human can range from 120 to 160, showing not a huge difference. Harbor seals main natural predators include orcas, sharks, eagles, and sometimes walruses who eat unprotected or sick pups. But one huge predator that many animals are threatened by is killing harbor seals. Humans are a main predator to many species of animals. Harbor seals also have a diet to follow to continue a strong and healthy life. Harbor seals mainly eat squids, mollusks, and certain fish. They find all of these needs in the ocean. They usually try to find a home close to a spot full of these animals that is unoccupied by an other kind of animal. They catch these foods by swimming up close and scooping them up in their mouth.

Physical Adaptations

Harbor seals can come in a variety of different colors and combinations. They can have from white or light gray to dark colors. They can have dark mixed with light colors on them. All of these examples can help with camouflage. But their color depends on where they are from. They have a higher metabolic rate to generate heat and keep warm. They have extra skin called blubber that keeps them warm. In the winter, the blubber can cause for 30% of the seals mass. Another physical Adaptation is that the side is lighter with less spots and each pattern is unique to every seal. They also they have body's shaped like torpedoes To help them swim better.

Behavioral Adaptations

Harbor seals choose to live close to or in sheltered places in the ocean to hide from their predators. They can also use their protective places to hide from large sea nets and hunters. It is very important to find the perfect place to live and eat. Harbor seals learn to dive up to 500 feet by learning from their mother to help them find more food and explore more depths in the sea. They can also use their calls to warn each other from danger. But can use calls to keep families together so the pups don't get eaten or lost.



Burton, M. (2002). Harbor seal. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed., Vol. 8, pp. 1132-1134). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

Cale, K. 2012. "Phoca vitulina" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phoca_vitulina/


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