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Harbor Seal

Phoca vitulina richardsi

Description:

The harbor (or harbour) seal (Phoca vitulina), also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed of pinniped (walruses, eared seals, and true seals), they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Baltic and North Seas. Harbor seals are brown, tan, or gray, with distinctive V-shaped nostrils. An adult can attain a length of 1.85 meters (6.1 ft) and a mass of 132 kilograms (290 lb). Females outlive males (30–35 years versus 20–25 years). Harbor seals stick to familiar resting spots or haulout sites, generally rocky areas (although ice, sand and mud may also be used) where they are protected from adverse weather conditions and predation, near a foraging area. Males may fight over mates underwater and on land. Females bear a single pup, which they care for alone. Pups are able to swim and dive within hours of birth, developing quickly on their mothers' fat-rich milk. Blubber under their skins helps to maintain body temperature.

Habitat:

Icebergs in front of calving glacier in Tracy Arm, Southeast Alaska.

Notes:

These seals were born here on the ice and remain here, safe from predators until they are ready to venture further away.

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DonnaPomeroy
Spotted by
DonnaPomeroy

USA

Spotted on Aug 24, 2012
Submitted on Sep 3, 2012

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