A little harbor seal soaking up the sun on the beach
Males -1.4 to 2.0 m
Females -1.2 to 1.7 m.
|Body shape||Rounded, fusiform body|
Range from light gray to silver with dark spots.
Some are black or dark gray to brown with white rings.
Spots or rings are numerous on the dorsal surface and more sparse on the ventral surface
Limbs are adapted into flippers.
Foreflippers have all major skeletal elements of the forelimbs of land mammals
Flippers are short and webbed. Each has five digits of equal length.
The foreflippers have noticeable claws. The claws are blunt and measure about 2.5 to 5 cm. Use their claws for scratching, grooming, and defense.
Not as broad as hind flippers and have less resistance to water flow
Covered with hair
The short webbed foreflippers contain the major skeletal elements of land mammals
Five bony digits in the hind, or pelvic limbs
The first and fifth digits are long and stout; middle digits are shorter and thinner
Digits are webbed. When the seal spreads its flippers they look like a wide fan
Move flippers side to side to propel themselves in water. The flippers also function as a rudder.
A seal cannot rotate its hind flippers.
Moves slowly and caterpillar-like.
Covered with hair
The hind flippers look like fans when spread out
Harbor seals have rounded heads with a fairly blunt snout
Lack external ear flaps
They have 34 to 36 teeth. The front teeth are pointed and sharp for tearing their food.
Vibrissae or whiskers grow from the thick pads of a seal's upper lip. They continually grow throughout a seal's life.
A harbor seal has a short, flattened tail between its hind flippers.
Harbor seals have thick, short hair. The coat has coarse guard hairs and finer but denser underhairs.
Denisty of the hair increases with age
Glands in the skin secrete oil which helps waterproof the hair
The hair does not provide any insulation
They molt each year after the breeding season, generally lasts one to two months
Not sexually dimorphic
No significant differences between females and males
A morphology diagram of the harbor seal