With its large, puppy-dog eyes, long whiskers and ungainly body the harbour seal comes across as quite clumsy. But don’t be fooled. Weighing in at up to 100 kilograms these creatures are excellent swimmers. While hunting for herring they can dive to over 40 metres for up to 15 minutes. Their sensitive whiskers, also known as vibrissae, help them detect their prey.
As undesired competition for fisherman, the harbour seal, just like the grey seal, was extensively hunted until the mid-20th century. And, in fact, it very nearly became extinct.
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