Q:

How do harbor seals protect themselves?

A:

Quick Answer

Harbor seals defend themselves from humans and predators by relying on their sensitive hearing to alert them and allow them to vacate the area. During the breeding season, males protect their territory from rival males by engaging in stylized fighting. While strong and fast swimmers, harbor seals lack other defense mechanisms and often fall prey to killer whales, sharks and the occasional coyote or bobcat.

Continue Reading
How do harbor seals protect themselves?
Credit: Sue Flood The Image Bank Getty Images

Full Answer

Although harbor seals have natural predators, they are classified as apex predators, feeding on fish and invertebrates alike. Their highly acute hearing is 14 times more sensitive underwater than on land, allowing them to distinguish between the calls of killer whales and their harmless cousins. Their whiskers are also able to detect sensitive vibrations in the water, and they possess an excellent sense of smell. Harbor seals have been observed to abandon a favored resting area due to human disturbance, reacting to human presence from distances reaching up to 300 feet.

Pups are the most vulnerable but have evolved to swim from birth, giving them an advantage when escaping from predators. They also grow rapidly, doubling their weight in the first month, and rarely leave the presence of their mother or other pups. Adults weigh up to 280 pounds.

Learn more about Marine Mammals

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some different kinds of seals?

    A:

    There are 32 different types of seals in the world of which the elephant seal is the largest. These animals can weigh upwards of 2 tons. The smallest type of seal, the Galapagos fur seal, has an average weight of only 65 pounds.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some harp seal facts for kids?

    A:

    Harp seals live in the Arctic near places like Alaska and Greenland, and they usually stay around the coasts near floating ice. Their name comes from the patterns that form from their spots once they reach adulthood, which look something like harps. When they are born, they don't have the pattern and are instead covered in fluffy white fur for their first three weeks of life.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some facts about sea elephants?

    A:

    Sea elephants, or elephant seals, exist in two species, the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal. The southern elephant seal is the largest type of seal on Earth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What animals eat seals?

    A:

    Killer whales, some species of sharks, Arctic wolves, polar bears, cougars, brown hyenas, various canid species and even other types of seals prey on seals. Some species of seals don't have any natural predators due to where they live or their size.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore