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FAQs About Harbor Seals

•  also called “true” or “common” seals
     •  have excellent hearing with no external ear flap (or pinna)
     • do not migrate
     • can sleep under water
     • can dive 650 feet deep (1500 foot dive has been recorded, but
       most dives are only about 25 - 60 feet)
     • can hold their breath for approx 25 minutes
     • adult diet consists of squid, octopus and a variety of fish
     • are extremely acrobatic swimmers, but awkward on land
     • fatty tissue layer called “blubber” provides warmth
     • coats are of various colors and number of spots, providing excellent camouflage
     • least vocal of all pinnipeds with adults making occasional grunts and growls and low-frequency underwater sounds
     • females live 35 years, males 25 years
     • males weigh up to 370 lbs, females up to 290 lbs
     • global population is estimated at 400,000 - 500,000
     • “haul out” and rest onshore when not feeding
     • most males and females become sexually active between the ages of 3 and 6 or 7 years
     • gestation period is 9 - 11 months
     • females give birth to one pup, typically 1/3 - 1/4 the size of the mother
     • seal pups weigh between 18 - 30 pounds at birth
     • pups can swim and dive shortly after birth
     • mating occurs soon after the female has given birth, with delayed implantation of the egg
     • if born prematurely, the pups have a whitish coat, called “lanugo” that is typically shed in the womb
     • moms nurse their pups both on land and in the water
     • pups nurse for 4 - 6 weeks
     • pups make a
sound like “maaaaaaaaaa”
     • mom’s milk consist of 50% fat, so pups can double their weight by the time they are weaned
     • once weaned, pups eat small bait fish
     • there is a 50% mortality rate for pups
     • generally return to the same breeding ground (“rookery”) year after year

Please visit our website to learn more about harbor seals.
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