Harbour Seal

Phoca vitulina

Hauling out in large groups during breeding season, but otherwise solitary animals of the sea, harbour seals are very well adapted to the water. They are streamlined, but have blubber for energy and insulation, and they even rise to the surface to breathe in their sleep. Their liquid, dewy eyes are more than simply cute—the oily film helps them to see underwater.


Harbour seals, also known as common seals or spotted seals, are recognizable on sight. Their latin name can be translated as ‘sea dog’. They resemble earless dogs when they stick their heads out of the water. Their coats vary from grey to brownish grey with black spots, rings, or blotches. Some individuals have spots that are so closely packed together that from a distance they appear to be solidly black…

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