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Miranda's Guide to Harp Seals

You are person number since May 19, 1996 to learn about my favorite animal. If you have any comments or suggestions, please mail them to the address below.

The harp seal is called a harp seal because of the harp-like pattern on its body. Other people say that the pattern looks like a saddle, which gives it the nickname saddleback. The harp seal's latin, or scientific name is phoca groenlandica. Their class is pennipeds.

A crabeater seal, which is also in the class pennipeds.

Some behavioral characteristics of the harp seal is that the males fight with one another, and the male who wins the most fights gets to have the most females as mates. Also, they use their rear flippers to swim, and their front flippers to steer (they are very good swimmers). And they can hold their breath for almost half an hour.

Some physical characteristics of the harp seal are that they have big eyes, no ears showing, the male is bigger than the female, and when a harp seal pup is born, it has to go through three stages before adulthood: yellowcoat, whitecoat, and beaters. Beaters are harp seal pups after their first molt, which happens when they are about three weeks old. They are called beaters until they are one year old.

Four whitecoats, two yellowcoats, and one beater (below, in order).

The harp seal's habitat is near land and in the north oceans everywhere. The harp seal's biome is in worldwide saltwater. The harp seal reproduces by mating and giving live birth. The harp seal's predators are orcas, Eskimos, sharks, and polar bears.

A polar bear.

The harp seal is very important in the food web, because it eats so much fish, and a lot of animals eat it. Some interesting facts about the harp seal are that the mothers can tell which pup is her own, but the pups can't tell which mother is their own. Adult harp seals can swim 10 mph (15 kmph), their body is shaped like a torpedo, and they can dive 600 ft. (185 m.).

A mother with her whitecoat pup.

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