Western Isles
 Western Isles of Scotland

Seal Pups

Seal Pups: Grey Seal Pup

Grey Seal Pup

Halichoerus grypus

Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
Benebecula - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
29th October, 2006

Grey Seals Pups in the Western Isles and Other UK Waters

There are an estimated 120,000 grey seals resident and breeding around the coast of the UK, which is more than 40% of the total global population of the species, and 95% of the European population.

This species is the third rarest seal in the world, and it is protected by law during the breeding season, which is from September 1st to December 31st.

Grey seals are considered marine features of conservation interest in the EC Habitas Directive.
In the Western Isles, the Monach Islands and North Rona are two sites selected for grey seal conservation as per the EU directive.

The Monach Islands grey seal colony produces 20% of the grey seal pups in the UK, it is the largest breeding colony in the UK.
North Rona has 5% UK grey seal pup production and is the third largest breeding colony in the UK.
Seal Pupping
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At least 10% of all the grey seal pups in the world are born in the Western Isles.

Grey seals in the Western Isles prefer to pup on the more exposed western coasts, frequently on north facing shingle beaches at the base of cliffs.

The majority of the UK population of grey seals are found around the North and West coasts.



Common Seals in UK Waters

Regardless of their name, there are fewer common seals than grey seals around the UK, an estimated 28,000 - 36,000.
The global population is about 500,000.

Approximately 8% of all the common seal pups born in the world are born in the Western Isles.

The majority of the UK population of common seals are found around the Eastern coast of the UK.

Common seals generally prefer more sheltered water than the greys, they give birth on the shore between the low and high tide lines, and choosing small islets, secluded sandy beaches, or sandbanks.



As adults both species of seals will "haul out" and rest beside each other, both are quite gregarious .

Grey seal pups and common seal pups are born at different times of the year, and the greys cannot swim for the first for their first four weeks, so you are very unlikely to see pups of both species beside each other for comparison.
10% of all the
grey seal pups
in the world are
born in the
Western Isles



Look at another picture of a cute seal pup and try 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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