Background

There are only two native species of seal within the UK,  the Harbour Seal and the Grey Seal. The larger of the two, the Grey Seal can under take dives up to 70m deep to feed despite it only being below the water for a few minutes.

Habitat

It is estimated that just over more than half of the global Grey Seal population live off the coasts of the United Kingdom. This generally centers near the Hebridean islands of Scotland. They are also found across the coasts of the Atlantic ocean with populations existing as far west as North America.

Diet

Diving for approximately three minutes at a time, the grey seal feeds on fish, crustaceans and cephalapods.

Predators & Threats

Like most seals, the Grey Seal is predated upon by Killer Whales and in other continents famously by the Great White Shark. However, since Great White’s are not naturally occurring in the UK, only Killer Whales feed on these seals around the coasts of Scotland. Humans however, pose indirect threats to this species with the introduction of plastics and pollutants into their habitat, which can cause entanglement and toxication.

Facts

  • Grey Seals mate on land, whereas Harbour Seals generally mate in the water.
  • They can use their whiskers to detect micro vibrations in order to capture food in murkier waters.
Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Grey Seal, Atlantic Seal, Horsehead Seal Halichoerus grypus
Size
 Upto 2.5m
Lifespan
 On average about 30 years.

Best Time to Look

All year round.

Where to find Grey Seal