Colour can vary drastically. Nostrils set apart and almost parallel in appearance. Large male adult grey seals can be up to 2.7m in length.
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Around the coast of most of the British Isles. (Maps are based on expert advice, as of 2007. Some species ranges may have changed in the time since. We are currently in the process of updating the maps.)
Major prey species include sand eels and gadoids (mainly cod, whiting, haddock, saithe, ling) and pleuronectids (mainly plaice, sole, lemon sole). Cephalopods and occasionally birds can be eaten.
Females can live to 35 years, males unlikely to survive past 25 years.
Common Seal (Phoca vitulina)
Short, rounded muzzle, compared to long straight muzzle of grey seal. Common seal often seen in “tail-up” pose. Grey seal is much larger than common.
The Zoological Society of London’s seal work
The Thames Estuary is home to harbour seals, also known as ‘common seals’, and grey seals, but they are some of the least understood seal populations in the country. ZSL is using seal telemetry (tagging), annual population surveys and a public marine mammal sighting survey to gather data to better inform conservation and management in the South East. Find out more about their projects here.