Grey Seal

Halichoerus grypus

What do they look like?

Grey seals are large, growing up to 2.6 metres in size, with around 6 centimetres of blubber to protect them from the cold water. Their long snout, sometimes compared to a ‘roman nose’, sets them apart from the common seal, which can also be seen in UK waters. They are mainly grey, with patches and markings unique to each individual, apart from the young pups which are fluffy and white. Grey seals can live up to 40 years old.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Grey seals spend most of the year hunting at sea but can occasionally be spotted bobbing in the water or resting close to shore. They are easier to see between September and December when they form breeding colonies and ’haul-out’ onto the shore to give birth to their pups.

Seals are vulnerable to human disturbance.
Disturbance can have negative consequences for seals, including injury or the separation of mothers from their pups.
It is important to keep your distance (at least 100 metres) and keep dogs under close control.

Seal pup rescue

Spotting seal pups on our beaches is not usual. It is normal for a seal to spend time onshore and seal pups will often be left by their mother whilst she feeds. Seal pups face many challenges including rough weather and predators and while they will usually just be resting and regaining their strength there are some occasions when they may need help.

We've created a easy to use checklist to help you decide if a pup is in need of rescue, you can download it HERE.

If you are in any doubt please call the SSPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999 and remember to:

Seal relaxing on a rock
Seal relaxing on a rock
©Emily Burton