Common seals and grey seals are the two types of seals most commonly found in the Highlands of Scotland. The grey seal is the larger of the two species and breeds all around the British Isles. Grey seal numbers are increasing thanks to recent conservation efforts.
These animals often come ashore on remote islands and deserted beaches to give birth to their pups in the autumn, to moult over the spring period and at various other times of the year in between foraging trips.
Female grey seals will often give birth to only a single white coated pup, this pup will become self sufficient within three weeks when it is left to its own devices. 90% of the grey seals breed in Scotland, with the majority of this number being located in the Hebrides and around Orkney.
Grey seals can live for over 20 years and will only begin to breed from an age of 10 (or 5 in the case of females).
They feed mainly on fish that reside near the sea bed such as sandeels, whitefish, cod, haddock, whiting, ling, pollack, and flatfish.
Common seals are located around coasts all over the North Atlantic and the North Pacific with Britain holding almost 40% of the population of the European type of common seal. Common seals will often come ashore in more sheltered and secluded areas such as on sandbanks and in estuaries.
June and July of each year is when common seals birth their pups. Common seals diet varies with the seasons and depends on what is available from region to region, but typically features sandeels, whitefish, herring, sprat, flatfish, and octopus and squid.