How Harbor Seals, Steal The Show. Vancouver Island, Canada.

Harbor Seals of Canada

Over the past few days, I have been mulling over the idea of how to share my love for Harbor Seals. As with my post on the Bald Eagles, of Vancouver Island, I thought why not write a descriptive narrative, however after a deep long thought process and scanning through many images. I came to the ultimate conclusion that these animals simply can’t be put into words. Their eyes, whiskers, nose and nature are best seen in photographs.

All photos were taken with the Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6 lens and a Nikon d7100 camera body. Photos were also all captured whilst in a kayak.

Harbor Seals In Action

With the potential to grow to a substantial length of 1.85 metres and a weight of 110kgs, the Harbor Seal is by no means a small marine animal. Their diet is dependent on their ecosystem, but on average consists of a variety of different fish, and squid. So far during my time on  Vancouver Island, Salmon has been the most prevalent choice. 

Harbour Seals are a coastal species. They spend around 50% of there time, hauled out on rocks, land spits, muddy shores and even ice. Throughout my encounters so far I’ve found the best time to see them on land is at low tide. Harbour Seals are rarely known to venture more than 20km off the shore line. They can also dive to depths of 650 feet. I found these two, hauled out on a small land spit on the Courtenay Estuary, Vancouver Island, Canada.  

A Harbor Seals appearance is very unique. They are distinctly known for their V shaped nose. Each seal also possesses their own unique patterning, some may present a pale grey colour scheme, while others a browner tanned and spotted tone.

You will often find Harbor Seals hauled out together, however with the exception of mating season. Harbor Seals, are predominately solitary animals. While kayaking on the Johnston strait, I came across several individuals in the water, however over time I came across a small group hauled out on a small piece of landmass.

Harbor Seals can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes. Some seals may also sleep fully submerged in this time. However seals may also sleep in the bottling position, as exemplified below. This seal floated right past my kayak in this position. Notice the prominent whiskers.

A Seal Pup is born on land, with its eyes open and can take to the water on its first day. However they can only stay submerged for a few minutes. As with many of my succesful Seal encounters, I found this pup hauled out in the middle of the Courtenay Estuary, Vancouver Island, Canada. Overall Harbor Seal pups are extremely curious animals.

Seal Pup

Stay Safe in Harbor Seal territory.

Like with any wild animal on this website or for that matter the world, it pays to remember that they are just that.. wild. Seals hold a curious and inherently cute and playful nature. If ever entering a Seals or in fact any ecosystem home to wildlife. Please consider the safety of the animal first, over a photograph. One small action can drastically effect a animals behaviour and its overall wellbeing.  

Also consider your own safety. If you’re going to be entering a marine environment, make sure you are competent in these situations. i.e paddling a kayak. Finally find a threshold of risk that your willing take in regards to your gear. Remember one small mistake and your kayak may just turn upside down bringing all your beautiful shiny gear with it. 

Check Out My Galleries And Social Media

You can check out more Vancouver Island wildlife, by clicking on the Great Blue Heron below.

Please check me out on social media by either clicking the Grizzly Bear below, or clicking the links under “social” at the bottom of the page.


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