Harp Seal By: Sophia simmons

Scientific Name

Pagophilus groenlandicus

Range

they are mainly found in the north atlantic and arctic oceans

Diet

Harp seals have a varied diet of fish such as capelin, polar and Arctic cod, herring, sculpin, Greenland halibut, redfish, and plaice.

Physical Description

Harp Seal pups are born with soft white fur.Some pups fur is yellow at birth because of the amniotic fluid. But in a few days it fades to white. When the pup turns 21 or 22 days the pups lose their white fur. The fur is replaced with a silver-white coat with black spots.

Breeding Info

A Harp Seal is able to reproduce when it is between 5 and 7 years of age. Males end up courting the females on the ice but then move into the water for the actual act of reproduction to take place.During mating season, females form large colonies on floating ice and give birth to young. Older seals return annually to pack ice to molt.

Special Behavior/ Unique Anatomy

Harp seals take their name from the dark, harp-shaped marking within the fur on their flanks and backs. These seals can grow to more than 6 feet long and weigh approximately 400 lbs at maturity. Their natural life span averages between 30 and 35 years, but they have to contend with arctic predators including polar bears and killer whales.

Weird/Interesting Info

Harp seals spend most of their time diving and swimming in the icy waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. These sleek swimmers often hunt for fish and crustaceans at 300 feet (90 meters) and may dive to nearly 1,000 feet.When the pups reach about 80 pounds (36 kilograms), their mothers stop nursing them. The pups go without food for about six weeks and can lose about half their body weight until they dive in and begin to hunt for themselves.

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