What kind of animal is the spotted seal? An explanation of its characteristics, ecology, and habitat


What kind of animal is the spotted seal? We will explain its characteristics, ecology, and habitat. Spotted seals are animals that can be seen quite widely along the coasts of Europe and North America. They can also be seen in some areas overseas in Japan, so they are a must-see animal.

What is a Spotted Seal? Basic Stats

The harbor seal is a type of seal belonging to the genus Phoca. Its English name is the Harbor Seal/Common Seal, and its scientific name is Phoca vitulina. Its body length is 160-200cm, and it weighs 70-170kg. A list of information is below. For more information on seals, please also refer to the following article.

English(英名)Harbor Seal / Common Seal
scientific name(学名)Phoca vitulina
classification(分類)Mammalia、  Carnivora、 Phocidae、 Phoca

Where does it live?

Seals are distributed throughout the world’s oceans, from Hokkaido through the Kuril Islands and the Aleutian Islands, to Alaska, Canada, the west coast of the United States, and throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with some individuals even found in Japan.

What are their characteristics? What kind of creature are they?

Spotted seals are stocky and covered in thick fat. They have a round head, V-shaped or heart-shaped nostrils, and brown, tan, or gray fur. They are named “zenigata” because they have black spots all over their body that look like white coins with holes in them. They usually live alone, are good swimmers, and can travel up to 50km in search of food. They also have excellent diving abilities, diving for 30 minutes and swimming to a depth of 500m.

What is their personality like?

Spotted seals are very curious. You can see this clearly at an aquarium. They will approach people in front of the tank and make a gesture as if they are peering into their faces. Another characteristic of them is that they are highly social, and they tend to live in groups.

What is their ecology?

Spotted seals live by eating fish, squid, crustaceans, etc. Seals are often polygamous, have a gestation period of nine months, and give birth on land or on sea ice. The baby can swim within a few hours of birth and is nursed for about four to six weeks. The lifespan of a seal is said to be 25 to 30 years.

Do they have any natural enemies?

In the wild, their natural enemies are killer whales and polar bears. Seals are very large, so they don’t have many significant enemies.

Are Spotted Seals an Endangered Species?

Unfortunately, the population of Spotted Seals in Japan is declining, and they are designated as an endangered species by the Ministry of the Environment. Their meat is edible, their fat can be used for fuel, and their fur can be used for coats. Conservation efforts are underway around the world.

Can you keep seals?

Spotted seals need a large pool. They also need space to rest, so it’s not easy. Their main food is raw fish. They eat a lot of fish, so it’s quite expensive. Some species are well protected, and in some cases permission is required, so be sure to check. It is realistic to get a seal from a zoo or aquarium. There are generally information about events and exhibitions, so check the zoo’s page.


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