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Seals resting on rocks in ocean during low tide

Seals resting on rocks in ocean during low tide

It’s pupping season. Harbor Seals give birth, nurse, and rear their pups. Immediately after birth, mom bonds with her pup. She memorizes her pup's scent and call in case they get separated. Harbor Seals haul out on the beach and rocky shoreline to rest, and for birthing and bonding with their pups. Pups haul out to get much-needed rest and to warm up from the cold water. They can be found frolicking with their mom on beaches and craggy shorelines.


Harbor seal pups can swim at birth. They can dive for up to 2 minutes when they’re only a few days old and can embark on journeys of over 100 miles from their birthing area by the time they’re a month old. Mother harbor seals sometimes raise their pups in nurseries, groups of mothers and their young, which help protect the seals from predators.


Harbor seals are part of the true seal family. All true seals have short forelimbs, or flippers. They also lack external ear flaps and instead have a small hole (opening to the ear canal) on either side of their head.


  • Extinction Risk: Least Concern
  • Scientific Name: Phoca vitulina