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Harbor seal

Did you know?

Phoca vitulina

Seals have beautiful big eyes. But they’re also great for seeing underwater, thanks to flattened corneas that take in more light.

Discover seals

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
Harbor seals live near piers and beaches along temperate subarctic and Arctic coastlines in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. They also live in Puget Sound. Find ours in Rocky Shores.
Rocky Shores
Meet the keepers
Our keepers give chats daily. Bring your questions and watch them work!
Zookeeper Life: Stephanie

Meet our seals!

Qilak
Saya
Eating
(and predators!)
Harbor seals love to eat fish and crustaceans, which they find by detecting sound waves with their whiskers.
They are hunted by sharks, orcas, polar bears and humans.
Slapping
for a mate.
Males attract females by slapping their bodies on the water, blowing bubbles and vocalizing.
Females give birth in the water, usually to a single pup which they nurse with a high-fat milk that helps them grow quickly.
I'm okay!
(Mom's gone fishing.)
Seals hunt alone but haul out in groups on land to rest, avoid predators, socialize and breed.
If you see a seal pup on a beach, leave it alone! Mom is probably nearby fishing, and will come back soon.

Protecting seals

Tangled and oil-coated

THE THREAT: While harbor seals are widespread, they live near humans and face human-caused threats: oil spills, chemical pollutants, entanglement in fishing debris and human harassment.

TAKE ACTION: You can help all sea animals by speaking up against off-shore oil drilling, and doing the right thing with plastic trash. Refuse single-use plastic altogether.

 

Marine Stories

Walrus Lakina Gets A Protective Tusk Crown

Lakina, our new female walrus, wears custom-made crowns to help protect her two tusks. Lakina did an excellent job holding still long enough for one of her crowns to be … Continued

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New Walruses Arrive

They were born just weeks apart six years ago and have been closely bonded ever since. And now, the two young walruses have moved together from Aquarium du Québec to … Continued

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Bullets and Blindness: Björn’s Bravery and Battle to Survive

Björn (pronounced bee-yorn), the sea lion, is definitely a fighter. The 11-year-old sea lion was rescued off the coast of southern California in December 2019 and brought to a rehabilitation … Continued

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Who's Nearby?
Love our seals? Then look out for our sea otters, just nearby in the Rocky Shores pools!