Harbor Seals

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) can be found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  They prefer coastal waters and love to bask on sandy beaches, mudflats, bays, and estuaries.   They have spotted coats in  shades from gray to black. They have small flippers with no external ear flaps.  

In California, harbor seal pups are born in early spring (March-April).  Mowry Slough to Mud Slough that hug the San Francisco Bay is a common breeding area for the seals.  This isolated but biological rich area is ideal for the new pups.

photos by Michael Salvaggio

There are a total of 40,000 seals in California according to a 1997 census.  The harbor seal is the last native sea mammal that breeds in the San Francisco Bay. 

It is important to keep our shores clean and pollution free, so these seals can condition to thrive in the south San Francisco Bay. 

Learn more about harbor seals at Mowry Slough by reading the following electronic book on Phoca, who is born at Mowry Slough and learns how to travel in the San Francisco Bay. Scroll down to Life Cycle - Organisms and click on:

Phoca the Traveling Harbor Seal by J.R. Blueford, animated by D.Raia
funded by San Francisco Estuary Project

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