|The gray seal has a thick layer of insulation
blubber that enables it to survive in water so cold that it can kill a
person in seconds. Gray seals are a common sight on remote coastlines in
the North Atlantic. They have large eyes and sleek coats like other type
of seal, but they can be distinguished from the common seal by their larger
more distinctive noses.
Breeding: Gray seals mate between September and December. Females come ashore to give birth to ups conceived the previous year. Since mating takes place soon after the pups are born, males haul out at the same time and fight to establish breeding territories. The female gives birth to a single pup, which she suckles for 14 to 17 days. Pups are born with creamy white fur that is soon replaced with gray fur. Three weeks after giving birth, the female comes into estrus (is ready to mate) and loses interest in her pup. Gray seals come together on shore in great numbers to breed.
The older, more experienced bulls dominate small groups of females with which they mate as random. Although the females may conceive, the development of the fetus is delayed so that birth will occur at the time the following year. After mating, the females leave the breeding beach to search for food. Pups are left to fend for themselves.
Gray Seal and Man: Seals have been hunted by man for thousands of years. Their skins were used for clothing and their blubber was a source of oil for lamps. Many coastal people made seal meat a sample of their diet. In more recent times, gray seals pups were killed for their white fur to supply to the fashion industry. Today, due to the efforts of conservationists, the fur is no longer so desirable. The slaughter of seal pups has almost completely stopped. Gray seals are not popular with everyone, however. Some fishermen claim that they eat to many salmon and cod. But scientists say that the seals do not seriously reduce the numbers of these fish.
Food and Hunting: The gray seal feeds primarily on fish. Its large eyes have flat corneas that enable it to se well in murky water. Still, its sense of hearing and taste are more important when hunting, and even blind seals have no difficulty catching prey. The gray seal has no external ears, but ut has a sensitive internal hearing apparatus to help in tracking prey. Its muzzled and whiskers are sensitive enough to feel water movements made by escaping prey as the seal moves closer.
Its large, highly sensitive nose, called a rhinarium, is used to detect a chemical changes in the water that indicate the presence of prey. Once prey is detected, the seal gives chase with great mobility and speed. Because its blood contains large amounts of hemoglobin, which stores oxygen, it can stay underwater for as losing as 20 minutes. When it dives, its heart rate slows to conserve oxygen.
Nature watch: Gray seals spend a large part of their lives hunting in the ocean. Still, they do haul out (come ashore) to rest and to breed. Most gray seals haul out on rocky islands, but they can occasionally be seen on sandy beaches. Gray seals are abundant in the cold northern Atlantic waters off Canada, Greenland, and Northern Europe. They can be distinguished from common seals by their larger, more defined noses. Some countries have coastal reserves from which seals can be observed.
Distribution: Northeast and northwest
Atlantic, as well as the Baltic Sea.
Identifying of Gray Seal:
Nose: Is used to detect prey.
Did You Know:
To return to animal menu click here
YOU FIND ANYTHING NOT WORKING PLEASE EMAIL ME!
I do try to keep this site working at all times but sometimes I don't catch everything
What page (URL) and what animal
Click Here; To Email Me:
Fast Counter by bCentral
All material copyright ©1996-2018
Ladywildlife©..& mcmxci imp b/imp
inc. wildlife fact files tm