Pacific Harbor Seal

Pacific Harbor Seal

Phoca vitulina richardsi

Physical Description

The Pacific Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) is a pinniped with a robust, torpedo-shaped body and short flippers. Adults typically measure between 4.5 to 6 feet in length and weigh between 110 to 375 pounds. Their coat color varies from light gray to brown or black, often with a pattern of spots or rings. They have large, dark eyes, a rounded head without external ear flaps, and prominent whiskers.


Pacific Harbor Seals inhabit coastal waters, preferring protected bays, estuaries, and inlets. They haul out on sandy beaches, rocky shores, mudflats, and ice floes for resting, molting, and breeding. They are also known to use man-made structures such as docks and piers.

Geographical Range

Pacific Harbor Seals are found along the eastern Pacific coast of North America, from the Pribilof Islands in Alaska, southward to Baja California in Mexico. They are commonly seen in the coastal waters of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California.


Pacific Harbor Seals have a diverse diet consisting of fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods. Common prey includes herring, anchovies, rockfish, cod, flatfish, squid, and shrimp. They are opportunistic feeders, and their diet varies based on prey availability in their habitat.