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Grey Seal

Kovler Seal Pool

Did You Know?

  • Grey seals are sometimes called “horsehead seals” because of their large, arched noses.
  • Grey seals have many adaptations to cold water, including a layer of blubber, dense fur, and a circulation system that brings blood to their extremities.
  • They swim by moving their rear flippers and the back half of their body and using the front flippers as rudders. They have top speeds of up to 23 mph, but normally stick to 6 mph or less.

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Scientific Name: Halichoerus grypus

Class: Mammals

Diet: Fish, including Atlantic cod, sand eels, catfish, redfish, and flounder

Range: Northern Atlantic coasts of North America and Europe

Endangered Status: Least Concern

More Information

Grey seals are among the larger of the pinnipeds, with males averaging 7.5 feet long and 750 pounds. Males also have larger shoulders and necks with large folds of skin, along with darker coats and spotting on their bellies. Females have lighter coats with dark spots and patches. These marine mammals have short flippers with five claws at the end. They have good eyesight, and their hearing is better underwater than on land.

The seals are excellent swimmers, but they also spend much of their days lying out on rocks and beaches with other seals. On land, they move like a caterpillar, shifting their weight from front to back. They molt once a year. Females typically give birth to one pup; locations and times are different depending on the region.

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