Typical Grey Seal behaviours

Grey Seals are at their most athletic and agile when moving in the sea. It appears that an individual seal will spend most of its time in the sea, although at particular times of the year, seals will leave the sea and spend time on land.

Seals greeting each other, apparently by smell

This local seal colony can be seen both in the sea and hauled out on land. Grey seals leave the sea to give birth and to moult, but they also appear to haul out onto land to rest and sometimes to find a mate.

  • Bottling – sleeping upright in the sea, nose upright. Seals rise to breathe & sink whilst asleep
  • Dancing – males and females circling around each other in the sea
  • Logging – sleeping in the sea horizontally on their stomachs or sides
  • Sniffing – others’ noses or behind the ear to recognise ‘friends’
  • Splashing – diving suddenly if startled
  • Tracking – surfacing occasionally behind a boat, while following it
  • Growling – snarling when individual seals get too close
  • Hauling – pulling themselves out of the sea and across land on their stomachs or sides
  • Lying – sleeping motionless on land on their sides or backs
  • Flippering– with front flippers when individual seals get too close
  • Fanning – moving their back flippers into a fan to stretch muscles
  • Grooming– scratching that itch with their front paws
  • Playing – young males sparring at the water’s edge
  • Snorkeling - mostly adult males blowing bubbles whilst swimming at the surface
  • Sand snuffling - digging around in the sand with their nose following a scent

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