Pembrokeshire is home to thousands of seals. The grey seal (Halichoerus grypus, meaning “hooked-nosed sea pig”) are often spotted along the coast. They are naturally inquisitive often following walkers along the coast path or taking a keen interest in groups of kayakers or Coasteering groups.
They sleep on land and in the water. When napping in the water they assume a posture known as bottling – their entire bodies remain submerged with just their heads exposed, enabling them to breath when necessary.
The grey seal feeds on a wide variety of fish, including sand eels, cod, flatfish, herring and skate, taken at depths down to 70m or more.
Pups are born in autumn (Sept to Nov) with a dense, soft silky white fur. Seal pups can be seen along the rocky shore in coves and caves. At first small, they rapidly fatten on their mothers milk. Mothers haul out to feed them and stay close at hand in and out of the water. They are super protective, but can be easily spooked into abandoning the pup.
Within a month or so, pups are left to fend for themselves, they lose up to 60% of their pup fat while learning how to fish.
If you spot a pup on land, please keep your distance to avoid disturbing it or its mother. Pups are often left unattended. They are far from defenceless with teeth, claws and an attitude to match. If you feel a pup is in need of assistance inform the RSPCA or local seal rescue hospital.