Harp Seal

The harp seal can migrate up to 3,000 miles every year
Harp Seal Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Pagophilus groenlandicus
Harp Seal Physical Characteristics
Grey, Black, White
Up to 7.6 million
120-135kg (260-300lbs)
Harp Seal Distribition

The harp seal is uncomfortable and awkward ashore. Yet in the water, it is a sophisticated swimmer and a professional killer.

These are relatively usual animals in the seas of the severe north. Called after the black harp- designed markings on the back, the harp seal is a wonder of development, many thanks to the numerous unbelievable adjustments it requires to endure in an unwelcoming setting, consisting of blubber and fins. The harp seal belongs to truth earless seal family. This is to differentiate them from fur seals, sea lions, and walruses.

4 Unbelievable Harp Seal Truths!

  • There are 2 identified subspecies of harp seals, one in the North Atlantic and an additional in the White Sea. While they do not interbreed in any way because of their huge geographical ranges, there are likewise no genuine physiological or morphological distinctions in between them.
  • Grownup seals molt, or drop their hair, every springtime.
  • A thick layer of blubber simply under the skin is an essential adjustment that assists the harp seal to remain cozy in the cold waters of the north. The blubber likewise assists improve the body to make it extra effective for swimming.
  • Among the extra fantastic truths is that seals have incredibly versatile bodies. They can nearly fold up the top fifty percent entirely in reverse.

You can take a look at even more unbelievable truths concerning harp seals.

Harp Seal Scientific Name

The scientific name of the harp or saddleback seal is Pagophilus groenlandicus. The name about converts from the old Greek to suggest an ice- fan ( Pagophilus) from Greenland ( groenlandicus). This species is the just living participant of its genus, however as pointed out formerly, it belongs to truth earless seal family, the Phocidae. The closest living loved ones are possibly the bow seal and the grey seal.

Harp Seal Appearance

The harp seal can be determined as a participant of truth earless seal family by the torpedo- designed body and the visibility of brief front fins, long back fins, huge claws, brief hair, and the absence of exterior ear flaps. They likewise have a long, conical nose and a level however vast head.

The specifying attribute of this species is the black harp- designed mark on the back and the hood on the head. This is bordered by light grey hair, in some cases stressed by black places. A lot of harp seals determine in between 5 and 6 feet long and evaluates concerning 260 to 300 extra pounds. Males are typically bigger generally than females and have extra noticeable markings. Some females never ever also create the well- specified harp markings for which this species is understood.

Harp seal, Pagophilus groenlandicus in the White Sea, Gulf Kandalakshskom.
Harp seal, Pagophilus groenlandicus in the White Sea, Gulf Kandalakshskom.AleksandrN/Shutterstock. com

Harp Seal Actions

Harp seals carry out a lengthy movement each year searching for sources and breeding chances. They in some cases go up to 3,000 miles big salami in between their winter season reproducing premises, where they molt, mate, and elevate young, and their summertime feeding premises, where they stockpile on food for the year. The reproducing nests include an enormous focus of seals, with approximately 2,000 of them per square kilometer. It is not completely understood whether the nest has a distinctive social company or pecking order to it, however when they reach their feeding premises in the very early summertime, the seals after that come to be singular seekers and have very little communications with various other participants of the exact same species.

Harp seals make a variety of various audios to interact with each various other, consisting of clicks, trills, roars, and tweets. While they’re not really singing on the ice, they will certainly make countless undersea contact us to draw in companions and coordinate tasks. The mom will certainly likewise make a blaring phone call if her infant is intimidated by a neighboring killer. Dogs similarly discharge a shouting noise to signal the mom to their visibility.

Like all participants of truth seal family, the harp seal has actually progressed countless adjustments for its aquatic way of life. Its back feet expand straight behind the body and are incapable to turn onward. In order to proceed the land, it creeps or runs onward on its tummy. As bad and troublesome as it gets on land, nevertheless, the harp seal is an outstanding swimmer in the water. Many thanks to their oxygen- abundant blood, harp seals can invest over 20 mins under the surface area, diving to a deepness of greater than 1,300 feet.

They have exceptional vision and hearing undersea, however their feeling of odor is somewhat bad and underdeveloped; they can not scent in any way undersea, since their nostrils are enclosed order to stop water from entering their bodies. The hairs (likewise called vibrissae) likewise supply a well- established feeling of touch and resonance.

Harp Seal Environment

The harp seal can be located in the cold waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans, socializing near packs of drifting ice. There are 3 distinct populaces, each with a distinct environment and migratory path. One Canadian population types in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and after that takes a trip north to the Hudson Bay, off the shore of Baffin Island, to feed in the very early summertime. One more population types near the little island of Jan Mayen and after that takes a trip north towards Svalbard and Greenland to feed. The last population, which is basically its very own subspecies, moves in between the White Sea, simply off the shore of Russia, and the Barents Sea to the north. Roaming seals have actually been located taking a trip as much southern as Germany, Spain, and the UK.

Harp Seal Predators and Hazards

Harp seals encounter countless dangers in the wild, consisting of predators, vessel strikes, complications in angling equipment or particles, oil spills and chemical contaminations, and the melting ice from environment adjustment. Harp seals are pursued by humans for hair, oil, and meat, particularly in the practice of indigenous Arctic individuals. Many thanks to its remote place, these dangers have not yet presented an existential threat. Nevertheless, as the environment warms, there are indicators currently that seals are having a hard time to manage the absence of seal ice. Furthermore, as the Arctic comes to be extra friendly to humans, there can be extra problems and unfavorable communications in the future.

What consumes the harp seal?

Harp seals are preyed upon by killer whales, polar bears, walruses, and Greenland sharks. The seal’s all-natural rate and dexterity, plus its capacity to quickly change from land to sea (and the other way around), deal helpful defenses versus starving predators Video camera groups have actually in some cases caught video of a determined seal directly staying clear of the clutches of a killer whale by climbing up onto drifting ice. Killer whales, also, will certainly in some cases try to knock the seal the ice by developing waves.

What does the harp seal eat?

The harp seal is a meat-eating killer. By one matter, it has actually been understood to eat some 67 fish species and 70 species of aquatic invertebrates. The structure of their diet depends upon place and the moment of the year, however preferred target products consist of krill, herring, cod, and level fish.

Harp Seal Reproduction and Life Process

The harp seal breeding period occurs every winter season. It isn’t understood the number of companions each seal will certainly have annually: they have actually been observed to have anywhere in between one and numerous companions each time. Also females have actually been seen with several male companions. No matter, seal reproduction has lots of fascinating truths. The male starts courtship with numerous intricate routines to draw in a companion’s interest. He might go after the female, wave his paw at her, or make bubbles and sounds from under the ice where she has actually made an access opening close by. The competitors for companions is tough. The males will certainly take part in battles by spraying and attacking each various other. There is likewise conjecture that the female might pick her friend based upon his composition.

After copulating, the female has a lengthy pregnancy duration of 11.5 months– though 4 months of this is because of postponed implantation. The fed egg actually waits in put on hold computer animation up until the female awaits maternity after she has actually gone back to the feeding premises. The female will certainly bring to life a solitary infant on the ice right near open water. Evaluating concerning 25 extra pounds, the dogs are birthed with tufts of white hair, in some cases tarnished yellow with amniotic liquid. This white hair soaks up sunshine and maintains the infant cozy. After concerning 3 weeks, it changes right into a silver- white layer with uneven black places; at this moment, the seal is called a bedlamer. The dogs are increased on the mom’s high- fat milk, which allows them to create their layers of safety blubber.

This whole reproductive cycle operates really limited timing. When the initial dog is totally discouraged, concerning 10 to 12 days after it’s birthed, the female will certainly prepare to mate once more with an additional male. At the exact same time, she will certainly remain to instruct the dog beneficial survival abilities and supply look after the following couple of weeks with no support or input from the dad. Puppy death is fairly high throughout this moment, and numerous do not endure to their complete life-span. While the dog is functionally independent at 4 weeks, it will not come to be sexually fully grown up until concerning 5.5 years of ages. Males will certainly start duplicating at around 8 years old, while females wait up until they have to do with one decade old. The harp seal’s regular life-span in the wild is someplace in between 20 and 35 years.

Harp Seal Population

The harp seal is presently categorized as a species of least concern by the IUCN Red Checklist. They have actually approximated there have to do with 4.5 million fully grown harp seals staying in the wild, separated throughout 3 distinct populaces. Various other quotes placed the number as high as 7.6 million seals amount to. In the past, the population has actually changed in between 1 million and 9 million. Many thanks to a decrease in searching and mishaps, the population numbers are currently enhancing.


  1. Animal Diversity Web, Available here: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pagophilus_groenlandicus/
  2. NOAA Fisheries, Available here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/harp-seal
  3. IUCN Red List, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/41671/45231087

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