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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
They get wet too.
Meet our keepers every day at 3pm at the Marine Mammal Talk. They’ll be somewhere around the walruses, sea lions, seals or otters – bring your questions and watch them work!
See daily schedule

Meet our seals!

Qilak
Saya
Shila
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

Lions, Idols and Convicts

Who’s new in the Pacific Seas Aquarium? We may have opened the Pacific Seas Aquarium in September, but we’re still adding animals every week! Swirling golden lion’s mane jellies, yellow-and-black-striped Moorish idol fish, and literally thousands of streaming, schooling, silvery herring. Here’s your sneak peek on who’s new in the aquarium. Lion’s mane jellyfish Cyanea … Continued

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Baja Diving

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

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The Walrus Ladies

We love walruses – and especially the three walrus ladies of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Joan, Basilla and Kulusiq (or Kulu, for short) each have their own unique physical and personality traits, interacting with their keepers in their own special ways. For Walrus Awareness Week (Dec. 2-8), we’re celebrating our three lovely Pacific walruses. … 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!