Also known as the harbour seal, the common seal (Phoca vitulina) is the smaller of the two seal species found in Britain and is distinguished by their distinctive “v-shaped” nostrils. Males can reach a size of 1.8m, with females reaching 1.5m, weighing up to 87.5-113kg. The colour varies from light tan to dark brown/grey with many small spots covering their coat. Also, males are often darker in colour than females. Common seals reach sexual maturity earlier than grey seals, with males reaching sexual maturity around the age of 6.
IUCN status Least Concern
In the UK, the Common Seal is protected under The Conservation of Seals Act 1970 during closed season (1st June to 31st August).
Where to find them:
Common seals spend a lot of their time at sea, coming ashore to breed and moult, with relatively large numbers being sighted around Liverpool Bay. They tend to prefer sheltered, rocky shores and are known to frequent areas which are familiar to them.
Common seals eat a diet consisting fish. In British waters, their diet is known to consist of Flounder, Sole, Herring, Eel, Goby and Cod.
Did you know the UK boasts 45% of the European population of common seals?
Did you know that despite the name “Common Seal”, their global population is only 5-6 million.