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  • Foca gris en Zoo Aquarium Madrid. Zoológico Madrid.
  • Foca gris en Zoo Aquarium Madrid. Zoológico Madrid.

Common name:

Grey seal

Scientific name:

Halichoerus grypus

Weight:

150 - 300 kg

Size:

1,8 - 2,3 m
Mammals
Pescivore
Oceans and seas
North America

Conservation

Preocupación menor
Least concern
Who is it? 

The body of the grey seal is long and fusiform, it is adapted to swimming and lacks ears (unlike the sea lion). Among the characteristics of the grey seal, the following stand out: its short and flattened hind limbs (which serve as fins); on land it moves more clumsily, although there are species which move very fast by crawling. The males, who have darker hair, are a fair bit larger than the females. Their range is basically the North Atlantic, and they inhabit islands and rocky coasts, caves, sandy beaches and compact ice.

What are its habits?

In September gestating females begin to arrive at the colony, days before the males. After the suckling period, the female grey seal goes into heat and forms a pair; mating occurs at the beginning of November, but the blastocysts are only implanted in the uterus in February. This helps the female to have a long time to recover from the energy outlay involved in gestation and suckling. During the two periods of the life cycle which occur on land (moulting and birth-mating), they observe a strict fast. Their feeding habits are piscivorous, they are great divers and they eat a great variety of fish.

Did you know…

The only natural predators of the grey seal are killer whales and sharks. However, it is humans that dog them most (they are accused of reducing fish populations, for example).

 

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