Harbour Seal

(Phoca vitulina)

Find Me In
B.C. Wild Coast
IUCN Conservation Status
Least Concern (LC)


Stays near shore, hauling out to rest on rocks, beaches, and docks/North Atlantic and North Pacific


Size: 5.5 to 6.2 ft. • Weight: 286 to 375 lbs.

Harbour Seals are nimble creatures with streamlined bodies and webbed flippers. They have a special way of keeping warm called "countercurrent heat exchange." When their warm blood flows towards their flippers, it passes close to the cold blood returning from the flippers which helps them conserve heat and stay cozy in chilly waters. These physical characteristics and unique adaptations make them exceptional swimmers by nature!

Harbour Seals are incredibly social animals, forming tight-knit communities along coastal areas. They love to hang out in groups called "rafts” and communicate with calls ranging from grunts and growls to high-pitched trills. These rafts are like bustling seal cities, where friendships are formed, playful games are played, and snuggles are shared. An easy way to tell Harbour Seals apart from other seals is to look for their cute little "V" shaped nostrils. They also have distinct spotted coats in shades of gray, brown, and even silver. They’re like dalmatians of the sea... except 101 Harbour Seals would be much louder!

Visit the enchanting world of Harbour Seals at the Vancouver Aquarium’s B.C. Wild Coast gallery, where cuteness and underwater aerobics reign supreme!

Things To Know


Where To Find Me?

B.C.'s Wild Coast Exhibit

Visit the new Marine Mammal Rescue exhibit at the B.C. Wild Coast for a sneak peek into our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre ─ the only facility of its kind in Canada and one of the largest rescue facilities in the world. Meet our rescued residents, who now find sanctuary at the Vancouver Aquarium after being deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada!

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