Portrait of a grey seal (c) Sam Eklund

Grey seal

Grey seals are the largest breeding seals found in the UK. Half of the world's population of grey seals are found around British coasts, and numbers here have doubled since 1960. In the autumn, females congregate at traditional pupping sites called rookeries. Pups weigh 14 kilograms at birth, but since their mother's milk contains 60% fat, they quickly balloon and develop the blubber layer essential for maintaining body temperature out at sea. When feeding, these seals can dive to a depth of 70 metres.

Scientific name: Halichoerus grypus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Atlantic grey seal,
  • Horsehead seal

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The Grey seal can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Grey seal distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Increasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

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