The grey seal is a large mammal native to both shores of the North Atlantic ocean. Being a part of the “true seal” family, this giant has no ears, and moves along the sand by flopping on its belly! But, did you know this seal didn’t get its name because of the color, but the male’s large snout? Thus, the scientific name in Latin means “hook-nosed sea pig”!
Where can we find the grey seal?
Found in North Atlantic, this mammal is divided into three distinct stocks. Therefore, it occurs in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and eastern North Atlantic stock. In these waters, our friend is exposed to cold temperatures and sub-arctic environments. Yet, no worries, because this seal is well prepared for this cold climate. Moreover, males will come onto ice to mate, while the females remain on land taking care of their babies.
How does the grey seal look?
As mentioned in the beginning, our large friend is characterized by its large snout and no ears. Moreover, males are generally darker than females, with lighter patches. Females, on the other hand, are silver grey to brown with dark patches. However, when it comes to size, this animal is not small at all! That being said, males can reach 10 feet long and weigh more than 850 pounds! Finally, slightly smaller females grow to 7,5 feet and weigh 550 pounds.
Diet and hunting.
Since the male provides food for the family, it will visit the water to hunt. This means our male will dive to depths of over 230 feet! Being able to hold its breath for more than half an hour at one time, the seal has plenty of time to catch prey. Although it feeds on a variety of fish, our friend will also eat crustaceans, octopus, and squid. Yet, when it comes to being prey, this seal’s worst enemies are the leopard seal, the great white shark, and the tiger shark.
When it comes to breeding, both parents have their individual responsibilities. Thus, the male will protect the family and provide food, while the female is raising the baby. Therefore, after a gestation of 11 months, the mother gives birth to a single pup. When born, the baby is already 28 pounds, and within three weeks it will gain additional three pounds a day feeding on the rich and nutritional milk. Finally, after about a month, the baby will grow dense waterproof fur and go in the sea to learn to fish for itself.
Did you know the grey seal’s milk can consist of up to 60% fat? No wonder the baby grows so fast, right?
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