Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Harbor Seal

Phoca vitulina


Fun Facts

    The Harbor seal is the most widely distributed species of pinniped.

    There are an estimated 5 million to 6 million harbor seals worldwide.




The Harbor seal is a type of pinniped that lives along the temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. They are a true seal with brown, tan, or gray fur, and a unique pattern of spots. Adults can reach a length of 6 feet (1.85 meters) and a weight approximately 290 pounds (132 kilograms).

Harbor seals feed on many species of fishes, such as anchovy, herring, mackerel, and occasionally also eat shrimp, crabs, mollusks and squid. Females typically outlive males (females: 3035 years; males: 2025 years). Females bear a single pup after a nine month gestation, which they care for alone. Pups can weigh up to 35 pounds (16 kilograms) and are able to swim and dive within hours of birth.

To learn more about Harbor Seals and their relatives, visit the Seabirds and Pinnipeds Room at the Aquarium.