Monday, 14 September 2015

Day 306 - Bouyant, Gargantuan & Splendid - Blakeney Grey Seals

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus
Hi everyone, Day 306, and I thought I'd go back to a species I saw in Norfolk when I was on my walk with Dad to Blakney Point. As we set off on the walk we saw a sign about these creatures and that we shouldn't go too close to the main place where they live, in fact access is restricted between April and August. Luckily we didn't need to go very close at all as we found a few times that we were being watched by them.  I thought this was probably the biggest species I saw while I was in Norfolk, much bigger than the Muntjac deer I saw. I found out in fact that they are the largest carnivorous mammal in the UK. I'm talking of course about Grey Seals.

So, I had to find out more about these great gargantuan creatures:

  • There are 33 species of Seals worldwide 3 of which, live here in the UK. 33 is quite a large amount!
  • Now, those two different species that live here?
  1. One is the Harp Seal,
  2. And the other is the Leopard.
They kept submerging and reappearing so some
of my photos were quite funny.
  • Males can be up to 2.7 metres or 270cm while the Female is 1.7m or 170cm.
  • Now, Males can weigh up to a MASSIVE 233KG! Females are a bit smaller but still quite large at 154kg.
  • Now, my Mum often asks "what's the difference between Seals and Sea Lions". Now, me and my Dad both answer 'ions' but what really is the difference..?
  • Basically, Sea Lions walk, and Seals wriggle on their stomachs, you can see a Sea Lions ears but you can't see a Seal's.
  • The Grey Seal population is believed to be increasing by a pretty good 7% a year. That makes a change from Sparrows and Tigers who are probably declining at that rate.
Me watching the colony from a boat a couple of years ago
- a seal colony is also known as a rookery
  • The pupping season has finished at Blakney and the pups have all left. Apparently 2,426 pups were born this year making it the biggest seal colony in England.
  • Now, most of the species that I have covered in my posts live for at most 18 years. Seals though can live to up to 38 years! Yep, from 26 - to 38 whole years! How many fights must they have to do..?
  • ...Now, I say that as they will have to do fights, but I haven't explained what I mean:
  1. Basically, a younger Seal will challenge the Alpha Male and they will bash against each other and even bite into each other.
  2. They will carry on doing this until one backs down or one dies. The winner will have control of the Females and get to mate with the most.
Here is a video of them fighting that I found on Youtube:

  • The blubber that you'll always hear about on seals is actually to protect them from water that is so cold that we would be killed by it in minutes.
  • They are fantastic hunters and their big eyes help them to see in murky water. It's their ears and whiskers though which help them catch their prey as they are both very sensitive.
They were great to watch
  • Seals are fantastic swimmers and can stay under water for up to 16 minutes though it is usually only 5 or 10 minutes. Now I can stay under water for around 30 seconds! They manage as they have lots more haemoglobin in their blood than me (that's the clever chemical that carries the oxygen around our bodies in our blood - seals just taught me that!)
  • As well as extra haemoglobin they slow their hearts down when diving to use less oxygen.
  • Seals hunt for fish, their main diet, alone and with all of their adaptations the fish don't stand much of a chance!
This shows how smooth and shiny they are
Here are a few links to some more information:




Hope you enjoyed,

Z.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely shots here Zach, what a cool find! - Tasha

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