sparky's picture

Seal Whitesands

Observed: 22nd October 2006 By: sparkysparky’s reputation in Mammalssparky’s reputation in Mammals
Seal St Davids
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Gill Sinclair's picture

Agreeing with grey seal

Sorry Syrphus - we must have been typing the ID at the same time! Have agreed with yours.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

Syrphus's picture

No problem, Gill. I feel I

No problem, Gill. I feel I ought to agree with you now ...



recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on

sparky's picture

Thanks experts!

Many thanks for your simultaneous confirmed id's and interesting comments Syrphus and Gill!

chrishardman's picture

How long do the pups stay

How long do the pups stay with their mother and do the fathers play any part after they are born?

Gill Sinclair's picture

Seal pups

As Craig says, the pups are suckled for 3 to 4 weeks on milk that is around 60% fat and then abandoned by their mother who goes back to sea. The pups stay on land living off their fat until they've shed all of their white fur and have their waterproof coat, then they go out to sea too. The father plays no part at all in raising the pup, which would have been conceived 11 or 12 months before at the same pupping area (implantation of the embryo - or strictly speaking the blastocyst - is delayed so that mating and pupping can all occur at the same location when the seals are ashore).
Hooded seal pups are even more amazing - the mother suckles them for only 4 days (the shortest lactation period of any mammal) and they double their birth weight in that time from around 20kg to 40kg.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

craig.oates897's picture

The pups are born in autumn

The pups are born in autumn (September to November) in the eastern Atlantic and in winter (January to February) in the west, with a dense, soft silky white fur; at first they are small and shrivelled-looking, but they rapidly fatten up to look like over-filled barrels, from the extremely fat-rich milk they receive from their mothers. Within a month or so, they shed the pup fur and grow the dense waterproof adult fur, and soon leave for the sea to learn to fish for themselves