Coastal waters to about 10 miles offshore, bays, harbors, coastal rivers, lakes. Most common in protected areas such as bays or inlets. Some frequently occur in freshwater bodies connected to the ocean and possibly resident freshwater in Lake Iliama (Alaska). Haul outs on isolated mudbanks, rocky islets, rocky or sandy shores, intertidal ledges, reefs, and glacial and sea ice (Scheffer 1958, Boulva and McLaren 1979, Johnson and Jeffries 1977, Burns and Gol’tsev 1984, Hoover 1988, Reeves et al. 1992). Pups are born on shore, often in an intertidal area; secluded sites and areas beyond strong wave action (NatureServe 2007b).
Boulva, J. and I.A. McLaren. 1979. Biology of the harbor seal, Phoca vitulina, in eastern Canada. Bull. 200. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada. 24 pp.
Burns, J.J. and V.N. Gol’tsev. 1984. Comparative biology of harbor seals, Phoca vitulina Linnaeus, 1758, of the Commander, Aleutian, and Pribilof Islands. Pp. 17-24 in: Fay, F.H. and G.A. Fedoseev (eds.). Soviet- American cooperative research on marine mammals. Vol. 1. Pinnipeds. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 12. U.S. Dept. Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service.
Hoover, A.A. 1988. Harbor seal, Phoca vitulina. Pp. 125-158 in: Lentfer, J.W. (ed.). Selected marine mammals of Alaska: species accounts with research and management recommendations. Marine Mammal Commission, Washington, DC.
Johnson, M.L., and S.J. Jeffries. 1977. Population evaluation of the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) in the waters of the State of Washington. Marine Mammal Commission, Washington, DC. 27 pp.
NatureServe. 2007b. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 6.2. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer.
Reeves, R. R., B. S. Stewart, and S. Leatherwood. 1992. The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, California. xvi + 359 pp.
Scheffer, V. B. 1958. Seals, sea lions, and walruses, a review of the Pinnipedia. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.