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Harbor Seal

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The Harbor Seal is a marine mammal that spends most of its life in the sea, but also enjoys sunbathing on rocks or on the beach. It is a pinniped (related to walruses and sea lions) that lives along shorelines in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in temperate, subarctic, and arctic waters. Seals have a life span of about 25 to 30 years.

Anatomy: The Harbor Seal has short, thick fur, grows to be up to 6.5 feet (2 m) long and can weigh up to 375 pounds (170 kg). The whiskers (called vibrissae) help the seal's sense of touch. The nostrils are closed in the resting state.

Diet: Harbor Seals are carnivores (meat-eaters); they eat mostly mollusks (like squid and clams), fish, and crustaceans. Seals don't chew their food. They swallow it in large chunks. They can crush the shells of crustaceans and mollusks with their flat back teeth.

Predators: Harbor seals are hunted by killer whales (orcas), polar bears, sharks, Steller sea lions, walruses, eagles, and coyotes.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia (mammals), Order Carnivora, Superfamily Pinnipedia (pinnipeds), Family Phocidae, Subfamily Phocinae, Genus Phoca, Species P. vitulina.

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