Ella’s wild about seals


This week Brighton has been our base by the sea. We have seen lots of sea birds like gulls but the ocean is a habitat for lots of other birds and animals; one of them is the seal, one my favourite animals.

Seals are well known for their dog like faces and big, brown eyes. They have holes in the side of their heads that are ears. These close when the seal dives. Seals have 34-36 teeth and the front ones are sharp – they have adapted to tear and rip fish – and the back ones are for crushing shells.

Seals are amazing swimmers but they aren’t elegant on land! They can stay under water for up to an hour! Seals have flippers to help them swim. Their hind flippers tuck a tail in between and when it outstretches it makes a wide fan shape. The flippers have claws in them for grooming, scratching and defence.

They have a layer of blubber (fat) to keep them warm when they are swimming in the sea.

There are 33 species of seal and the most common two found near the UK are grey and common/ harbour seals.

 Spot the difference

Here are two drawings: a grey seal and a common/harbour seal. Can you spot the differences between them?

seal comparison

In case you were struggling to find the differences here are a few: Grey seals have a longer nose (more of a dog shaped head) than common seals, which have small heads and squished looking noses. The patterns on the coat are also different. The last one spottable on my drawings is the size of the seals; grey seals are much bigger than common seals.

 Where to find them

Seals can be found all around the coastlines of the UK but here are some hot spots and the times to see them most:

Seal hotspots:

  • Cornwall
  • Blakeney, Norfolk
  • Orkney islands
  • Skomer
  • Moray firth
  • Donna Nook
  • Farne islands

 Time of year to find seals

They can be seen basking (sun bathing) at any time of the year. But if you want to see pups then go to the coast in Autumn to early Winter (to see grey seal pups) or in June and July (to see common seal pups).


By Ella