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Phoca largha

Spotted Seals

Size

Average lengths of 5 feet, with weights ranging from 140 to 250 pounds

Diet

Mostly fishes including Pacific herring and walleye pollock, some crustaceans, and cephalopods

Habitat

Cold waters of the North Pacific Ocean

Range

Widely distributed on the continental shelf of the Beaufort, Chukchi, Bering, and Okhotsk Seas; south through the Sea of Japan; and into the Yellow Sea. In US waters, spotted seals migrate south from the Chukchi Sea through the Bering Strait from October to November. Winters are spent in the Bering Sea in the annual pack ice over the contintental shelf.

Conservation Status

Lc

Least Concern

Nt

Near Threatened

Vu

Vulnerable

En

Endangered

Cr

Critical

Lw

Extinct in Wild

Ex

Extinct

Spotted seals are often referred to as ice seals.

Male and female spotted seals are similar in shape, size and appearance.

By whatever name you call them, this seal lives up to its name.  This species of true seal spends the majority of its life in icy environments.  They are also identifiable by their dark irregular spotted markings against a lighter gray or silver fur.

Unlike other true seals, spotted seals will form “family units” consisting of a male, female and the newborn pup during breeding season. Pups will feed primarily on krill and small crustaceans and adults will eat a variety of fish species including herring, capelin and Arctic cod.

Threats

Climate change and habitat loss

Status

Protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Seals Up Close

Who doesn’t love harbor seals? Get to know more about these beloved creatures, hear their stories of survival, and learn about their natural history, animal care, enrichment training, adaptations, and current conservation issues.