VIDEOS: Important period for seals ending – what now?

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Wed, 06.04.2016 - 09:00

Video recorded by  Fleur, LK forum

Translation Liis




Grey seal        Hallhüljes       Halichoerus grypus


The most important period in the life of grey seals is gradually coming to an end. The seal pups that saw daylight in February by now weigh 10-12 kilos and are already making their first explorations in the sea completely on their own, without the aid of their mothers. The seal mothers fed their pups for less than twenty days; during the lactation period the immune systems of the young seals also develops and their body weight at the end of the sucking period was more than 40 kilos.

You have surely already noticed older seal pups with darker coats  in the camera image – after the weaning off period from mother’s milk the pups change the light ”baby fur”, lanungo, to proper fur. They begin to feed independently in the sea at one to a couple of months because with the mother’s milk enough reserves have accumulated in their bodies to manage an independent  life.

We have seen the mating of grey seals in camera view; it takes place after the end of suckling or up to a month after giving birth. Thus the gestation period of grey seals lasts 11 months but for the first 5 months the females have an embryonic diapause. Females become sexually mature at 4-5 years of age.

In mid-April the spring spawning of the Baltic herrings begins in the coastal waters and it is an important feeding period after the mating time fasting.

After a couple of weeks of intensive feeding the springtime moulting period of grey seals starts; they are again seen in great numbers in the rookeries then.


Video recorded by  Aita, LK forum

The landing of the not yet adult white-tailed eagle (note that only some of the tail feathers have changed to white and the overall impression of the plumage is ”dark”) close to the seal pup worries the female seal who is still suckling. In fact, the already one week old pup can defend itself successfully but a mother’s heart of course wants to be safe rather than sorry. An interesting video cut where the seal pup shows its sharp teeth to the eagle, and the eagle had better avoid them.


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