Seals just want to have fun

Seals get up to such wonderful antics at this time of the year. Without the pressures and energy demands of a pupping or moulting season, seals seem to take a break in their routine activities to simply have fun! During our last monitoring session this certainly proved to be the case…for all but the adult females - they were too busy feeding up for two as they grow their pups ready for next season.

In contrast, the adult males, no longer too obsessed with territory and hierarchy seemed to be free to enjoy playing and meeting old friends.

Two adult males spent a considerable amount of time taking it in turns to gently and amicably butt each other’s heads. This gesture during the pupping season would be part of their posturing and fighting regime, but at this time of the year all their aggression had gone and they just appeared to enjoy the physical contact and interaction. Two other males spent several hours together – one with his head on the other's back.

Adult males playing amicably and taking turns to be in charge (below) : Adult male DP74 'White back P' using a 'friend' as a pillow (below right)

Those of you that drive will know how hard it was to master a three point turn – and so much worse in a narrow space. It seems this is a skill that young seals must also learn! Worse still, juvenile seals have lots of growing to do. One young girlie seal found that perhaps she had grown a little more than she thought, as she changed her mind about her access route to the mainland haul out. Once inside the narrow channel, she decided to do a three point turn and this proved somewhat of a struggle as you can see from the video (click here to see her three point turn!). No sooner had she made it back to the sea, than she swam straight around and hauled up onto the beach using a new access route!

Juvenile female approaching the mainland haul out beach looking beautiful just before her three point turn manouveur! (below)

As ever, watching individual seals interact with both their environment and each other can be fascinating and entertaining!


Cornwall Seal Group are extremely grateful to all their members who volunteer hundreds of hours of their time to photo ID and watch over the seals around the Cornish coast, especially at pup time! If you would like to support the work of Cornwall Seal Group by helping to fund surveys such as this, you can email to arrange to send a cheque or a contribution via your bank.

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