Marine Mammal Care Center
Los Angeles

(Phoca Vitulina)pp3

Harbor seals are earless seals (true seals). They are the most readily observed earless seal in American waters and are widespread on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

ORDER:
SUBORDER:
FAMILY:
GENUS:
SPECIES:
SUB-SPECIES:

Carnivora
Pinnipedia
Phocidae
Phoca
vitulina
richardsi

Adult (Average) Size:

Male: 4'7" to 5'7" , up to 300 lbs.; Female: 4'7" to 5'7", up to 300 lbs.

Habitat:

Coastal waters and mouths of rivers; may occur in some northern inland freshwater lakes

Range:

Hudson Bay to Carolinas (Atlantic); Northern Alaska to Calif. Coastline (Pacific)

Migratory Patterns:

Non‑migratory

Social Organization During Breeding:

Small to large groups

Mating Behavior:

Polygynous

Sexual Maturity:

Male: 3 to 7 years; Female: 2 to 7 years

Mating Season:

Varies; May to June (North America)

Gestation Period:

12 months (3 months delayed implantation)

Pupping Season:

April to May (east coast of North America), February to March (west coast)

Size at Birth:

2 ‑ 3 ft. (22 lbs. to 28 lbs.)

Lactation (Nursing) Period:

21 ‑ 42 days (Length of lactation period varies geographically)

Usual Diet:

Herring, squid, flounder, crustaceans and mollusks

Amount of Food per Day:

Juvenile: 5 lbs. to 8 lbs.; Adults: 10 lbs. to 15 lbs.

Predators:

Orcas, great white sharks and polar bears

Diving Depth:

Can dive to depths of 600 ft.

Submersion Times:

Can remain submerged for 30 minutes; average 5 to 8 minutes.

Longevity:

Average lifespan for most pinnipeds is estimated to be from 15 to 25 years