Grey Seals in Angel Bay

More than half of the worlds Grey seal population lives and breeds around the U.K. coast. The largest populations are found on the Farne Islands, the Cornish coast and Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, but there is a sizeable population around the rocky North Wales coast.

140207TGEN-Grey seals-Little Orme

Grey seals in Angel bay, Little Orme

BEST TIMES TO SEE SEALS

Around the Little Orme, seals may be seen all year round, there are often one or two swimming around in the sea of the small rocky cove known as Angel Bay and sometimes at low tide there may be one or two hauled out on the beach. But the best time to see seals in any numbers is when they are on shore to breed or to moult. Around our UK coasts, grey seals breed and pup during the autumn from September to mid December  and the birth of pups peaks during October and November. They moult during June and July.

140111TG-AngelBay, Grey Seals on the move

January 11th 2014-Angel Bay 

 

The scientific name for the Grey Seal is Halichoerus grypus, which rather unflatteringly translates as ‘hooked-nose sea pig’.  They are the third rarest seal in the world and in Britain are protected by law during the breeding season, from September 1st to December 31st, during which period the females come ashore to give birth to their pups.

140206-Angel Bay,Little Orme  - Grey seal group

February 6th 2014-Angel Bay

 

160310-14-Little Orme-Grey Seal group

March 2016-A group of about 20 females and well-grown pups

Grey Seals in Angel bay, Little Orme

May 12th 2014-Angel Bay

Grey Seal swimming

June- A male Grey Seal swimming in Angel Bay

Grey seals can grow up to 2m in length and live for 40 years. Male (bull) grey seals seals are the largest mammals found in the UK.  They can weigh twice that of our largest land mammal, the red deer.

Grey seals differ in appearance from the common seal in that they have a longer muzzle.  The colour of the fur of the adult seals varies from brown to silver grey, often with darker blotches. Strangely, Grey seal pups are born with white fur, whereas the young of most animals have colours that blend in with their background to keep them hidden and protect them from predators The white fur is a throwback to our last ice age: white pups would be well camouflaged in a snow covered landscape, and these white fur coats show that Grey seals evolved thousands of years ago at a time when these islands were covered with ice and snow.  Nowadays the white fur makes the pups too conspicuous, and they begin to moult and darken within just a few days of birth.

15911TGNWRESC-Baby grey seal rescue-Rhos-on-Sea

September 11th 2015-Abandoned and rescued very new seal pup-Rhos on Sea

At birth, the seal pups weigh around 15kg. The milk produced by their mothers is almost 60 per cent fat.  The pups drink about 3 litres a day and their weight increases rapidly, they put on about 35 to 40kg in their first 3 weeks while at the same time the mothers lose around 70 to 80kg.

 

150916-Little Orme 22a-Grey Seal in Angel Bay

16th September 2015-Angel Bay

151021-Little Orme-Grey Seals (42)

October 2015-A good sized group of males & females, some possibly mating

OBSERVING SEALS SAFELY

For much of the year seals are widely dispersed and may be seen almost anywhere along the North and West Wales coasts, even in rivers at times. It is best to observe seals at a distance. Seals catching sight of people on cliffs or at sea often keep their large dark eyes fixed on what they perceive as a threat, giving an impression of tameness, but in fact are watching the source of danger. They dive with a noisy splash that warns other seals. If seals react to your presence this way, you are too close for comfort, and unless you withdraw you may not see any more seals.

Posts featuring Grey Seals:

March 2016     Sleeping Seals and Stonechats

February 2014  Noisy birds and sleeping seals

January 2014  Grey seals in Angel Bay

September 2011 Baby seal rescue

 

 

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