Grey seal Facts

Grey seal Facts
Grey seal is marine mammal that belongs to the family of true seals. There are two subspecies of grey seal that can be found along both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Grey seal inhabits temperate and sub-Arctic waters and sandy and rocky beaches. These animals were often on a target of hunters in the past because of their fur, meat and oil. Grey seals are protected by law today, but they are not as numerous as they once were due to numerous fishing nets in the ocean and pollution of the sea.
Interesting Grey seal Facts:
Grey seal can reach 6.5 to 8.25 feet in length and 370 to 680 pounds of weight. Males are much bigger than females.
Grey seal is covered with thick fur that can be brown, silver, light or dark grey in color with light or dark-colored blotches. Males are darker colored than females.
Grey seal has two layers of dense fur and thick layer of blubber which keep body temperature stable in the cold waters.
Grey seal has straight head profile, shiny white whiskers and parallel, widely apart nostrils. It has large, webbed flippers equipped with sharp claws which together with tail facilitate swimming and propelling through the water.
Scientific name of grey seal is "Halichoerus grypus", which means "hooked-nose sea pig". Name refers to the unusual shape of the nose that is especially prominent in males.
Grey seal is a carnivore. Its diet is based on fish (sand eels, cod and herring), crustaceans and squids.
Grey seal can dive to a depth of 984 feet to find food.
Natural enemies of grey seals are sharks, killer whales and humans.
Grey seals gather in large colonies to give birth and mate during the autumn and winter (depending on the geographic location). Males fight to establish dominance and get opportunity to mate.
Pregnancy lasts 10 to 11 months and ends with one baby (pup) covered with white fur. Mother easily identifies her baby among other babies in the colony thanks to specific calls and unique smell.
Young grey seal depends on the mother's milk until the age of 15 to 21 days. Milk is extremely strong (it contains 60% fat) and it ensures fast growth of baby (birth weight is increased 4 times by the age of three weeks).
At the age of 3 weeks, mothers leave breeding areas and their pups to fend for themselves. Shortly before the age of one month, young grey seals develop adult, waterproof coat and become ready to enter the sea and hunt on their own.
Only few grey seals manage to survive till adulthood. 30 to 50% of grey seals die before they reach the age of one year.
Grey seals reach sexual maturity at the age of 3 to 8 years.
Grey seal can survive 30 years in the wild and up to 40 years in the captivity.

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