Grey Seals

Meet Snoopy, Lizzie, Ray, Marlin and many more of our Grey Seal residents and hear their rescue stories. Learn all about Flipper the Grey Seal and how marine pollution so badly damaged his lungs he could never return to the wild. Discover how Grey Seals survive in the wild and how the team at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescue up to 50 injured or abandoned Grey Seals every year from around the Cornish Coast.

 

Did you know?

  

•The scientific name for the Grey seal is Halichoerus grypus which means ‘hooked-nose sea-pig’!

• Grey seals will perform behaviours known as ‘bottling’ and ‘logging’. This is when they bob around vertically or horizontally in the water with just their head or back above the surface of the water. This is how they rest at sea while out foraging for days at a time.

• Grey seals are amazing divers and can stay under water for up to 40 - 45 minutes at a time! Unlike humans however, when grey seals dive they don’t take a big breath of air, they actually breath out most of the air in their lungs so it doesn’t make them float.Iinstead, they have specially adapted circulation and respiratory systems that allow them to hold lots of oxygen in their blood and muscles!

• Scent is really important to grey seals. They will sometimes greet each other by sniffing and mothers also identify their pups by smelling them. They are also one of the few animals that are able to smell underwater!

• The fur coat of grey seals is different patterns for males and females, males are darker and a more solid colour all over, whereas females have a steely grey coloured back and a mottled creamy colour belly.

•Each grey seal has a unique pattern in its fur which remains the same for their entire life.

Seal Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release

We rescue over 60 injured Seal pups from local coastal waters each year and bring them to our Seal Hospital to undergo a rehabilitation programme. It costs over £1,500 to rehabilitate just one seal pup and get them fit for their release back into the wild, so we are extremely grateful our guests continue to support the work we do.

During the rehabilitation process, injured Seals are placed in the Seal Hospital pens and treated with antibiotics and medication. Our guests are able to visit the hospital to see how our patients are doing - please be aware that this is an operating animal hospital and some people may find it upsetting.

Once a Seal is free from infection and a healthy weight, we then introduce them a rehabilitation pool where they can get used to being back in the water. After this, they are introduced into our main Seal pool to learn how to fight for fish again against our resident seals.

Once the animal care team are satisfied a Seal is able to survive again in the wild, they are released back into the wild!

There are 35 different Seal species worldwide, the rarest is the Mediterranean Monk Seal with fewer than 500 left in the world.

Seals can hold their breath underwater for up to 30 minutes!

Oil from Seal blubber was once used for making soap and paints! Thankfully, legislation came in to make seal hunting illegal in the UK.

There are 35 different Seal species worldwide, the rarest is the Mediterranean Monk Seal with fewer than 500 left in the world.

There are 35 different Seal species worldwide, the rarest is the Mediterranean Monk Seal with fewer than 500 left in the world.

Seals can hold their breath underwater for up to 30 minutes!

Seals can hold their breath underwater for up to 30 minutes!

Oil from Seal blubber was once used for making soap and paints! Thankfully, legislation came in to make seal hunting illegal in the UK.

Oil from Seal blubber was once used for making soap and paints! Thankfully, legislation came in to make seal hunting illegal in the UK.