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Canada's Species   Mammals

Harbour Seal

Phoca vitulina

Photo:Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center
Harbour Seal. Photo:Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center

The harbour seal is the most recognizable of the true seals and the most widespread of all the seals. It is well distributed along most of Canada's coastlines. Harbour seals are quite gregarious on land but are quick to disperse once in the water where they forage for food. They are very playful animals, and there are few people who have not seen the harbour seals' underwater acrobatics in the presence of a diver. One should not be fooled however, as they are still wild animals and have been known to bite if they feel threatened. Harbour seals feed heavily upon fish (up to 94% of their intake) and less so on molluscs. Harbour seal have recently come under attack by the fishing community because of their possible competition with the local fishing industry.

Map of Harbour Seal in Canada
Distribution of Harbour Seal in Canada

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