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Seal (Phoca vitulina)Seal (Phoca vitulina)Barcelona ZooCommon Seals at Blakeney PointCommon Seals at Blakeney Point
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Seal Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Phoca vitulina
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
1.8-5m (5.9-16ft)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
105-3,000kg (230-6,000lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
44km/h (27mph)
How long the animal lives for
15-25 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Brown, Tan, White, Black
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Coastal waters and rocky shores
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Fish, Crabs, Squid
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Human, Sharks, Killer Whale
Special Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Thick fur and streamline body

Seal Location

Map of Seal Locations


The common seal tends to be found in colder waters in many places around the world. Many species of seal inhabit waters in the northern hemisphere and are often found in coastal waters where there is an abundance of food and fewer number of predators.

There are thought to more than 30 different species of seal found in the world's cooler waters from the smallest species of seal, the Caspian seal to the Elephant seal which is the largest species of seal. Other seal species include the grey seal and the leopard seal which is known for it's highly predatory and aggressive behaviour Seals are closely related to sea lions and also walruses

The seal is easy and common prey for many of the world's predators both on land and in water due to the medium size and generally peaceful and playful nature. Predators of the seal include polar bears, sharks and even humans who hunt the seals mainly for their oil but also for food.

Seals are highly carnivorous marine animals that primarily hunt fish, squid and crustaceans (like shrimp and crabs). The large leopard seal is known to have a more diverse diet that not only includes larger species of fish but also penguins and the occasional sea bird.

Surprisingly, seals only spend around half of their time in water, as the other half is spent on land. After a gestation period of between 11 months and a year, baby seals (known as seal pups) are born on land. Seal pups develop very quickly and some baby seals are often able to swim within a few hours of birth. Seal pups are born during the spring and summer months when temperatures are warmer and there is plenty of food.

Generally, seals live until they are about 20 years old but some species of seal live for a shorter period of time, where other seal species can live until they are nearly 40. Due to the fact that seals are a targeted food source for many species of animal, some seals in the wild will only live for a very short period of time.

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First Published: 10th November 2008, Last Updated: 7th November 2019

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2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2010]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]