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The Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus

The Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, is commonly found on the shores in the North Atlantic Ocean. As the name would suggest, they are grey in colour with various darker spots, with females displaying a slightly lighter colour than males. Adults have two thick layers of fur and a layer of blubber to insulate them in the cold waters of the Atlantic, while pups are covered in a layer of white fur. Females become sexually mature at 3-5 years of age, giving birth to a single pup on a rocky or sandy haul-out site in early fall. After three weeks the pup is weaned, at which point they are abandoned by their mother. Mating then takes place, with males crowding around nursery colonies of females. Some individuals may even take control of up to 7 females! This species can dive to depths of up to 100m for approximately ten minutes when searching for prey. Grey seals are also opportunistic feeders, hunting fish ranging in size from sprat and small herring, to large salmonids and eels.

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