Harbor Seal – Celebrating Your Body
Sensuality, understanding the water, celebrating your body, size acceptance, appreciating physical pursuits, the liminality of the ocean, the value of curiosity, learning things about your environment, research and knowledge, fun and play, fluidity, flexibility, being capable of deep exploration of an issue when required, valuing strength and courage.
Harbor seals (also known as the common seal) are true seals widely found in the Northern Hemisphere in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There are between 5-6 million harbor seals in the world. Adults can grow to close to 2 metres and weigh around 130 kilograms. They feed on fish, crustaceans, molluscs, seabirds and cephalopods. They can dive up to 500 metres. Their specialised fat, called blubber, helps them to regulate their body temperature. They tend to return to the same areas to come out of the sea and rest. Females live significantly longer than males. Males can fight over mates both under and above water. Females tend to mate with the strongest males, and care for their pups alone. Pups are born precocial, able to swim and dive quickly after birth.
They are curious by nature, and can get very close to humans as a result both in the water, and on beaches (though they tend to be more wary on land); they get the common name ‘harbor seal’ from their habit of congregating near harbours. It is not in their nature to attack humans. They are social and vocal animals. They must spend a lot of time on shore when shedding their fur (after breeding), during this time they are particularly vulnerable to disturbance. They are hunted for skins, oil and meat; and can be used in the production of jewellery. They’re also found in some commercial aquariums, and can be used in experimental research. They can be fatally harmed by fishing nets.