Western Isles
 Western Isles of Scotland

Seal Pups

Seal Pups: Grey Seal Pup

Grey Seal Pup

Halichoerus grypus

Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
Balranald RSPB Reserve - North Uist - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
1st November 2006

Grey Seal Pup or Common Seal Pup? Head Shape

A difference between a grey seal pup and a common seal pup, is the shape of the head.


Looking at the head sideways on, the grey seal pup has a large wedge-shaped head .

It has a long angular, straight snout, and it is said to have a "Roman nose".

Occasionally the snout of a grey seal is described as dog-like, horse-like, donkey-like, but never cat-like!

Seal Pups: Grey Seal Pup

Grey Seal Pup




Common seal pups have more rounded smaller heads.

The snouts of common seals are frequently described as dog-like (labrador)

This is because the pups have distinct foreheads, their snouts are short and there is a concave dip that gives them a muzzle.

They have generally more appealing appearance and expressions with their rounder faces.


Seal Pups: Common Seal Pup

Common Seal Pup


When young, the profile of the snout of a grey seal is a bit less pronounced than when it matures, seal pups like humans babies have more rounded features which change as they get older.

This means that there could be a bit of a concave dip in the nose profile of a grey seal pup and the head could be a bit rounded ...

The head shape difference is harder to see with seal pups than with adult seals, but once you have gained the skill, it is another particularly useful one as often only the head of a seal is visible above the sea.

Our sleepy seal pup in the photograph above has a shallow dip in it's fairly long snout.
It is probably a grey seal pup.

Grey seals have
a gestation
period of about
11 months



Look at another picture of a cute seal pup and try a different identification technique.


Grey Seal Pup or Common Seal Pup?

Pupping Sites in the Western Isles
Head Shape Seal Pups and their Mothers
Size, Coat and Markings Abandoned or Injured Seal Pups
When you saw it  
Where you saw it  


Debbie's online photo album

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