Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are the larger of the two species of seal found commonly around Liverpool Bay, males (Bulls) can reach sizes of 2.3m by the age of 11, with females (Cows: as seen in the main image) reaching sizes of 1.5m by the age of 15. Coat colour can vary from silver through brown to a dark grey colour, though the sexes are distinguishable by their coat colour. In males, the darker colour forms the continuous background, with lighter tones forming patches. Whereas females have a lighter colour as the background with darker patches.
IUCN status Least Concern
In the UK, Grey Seals are protected under The Conservation of Seals Act 1970 during closed season (1st September to 31st December).
Where to find them:
Grey Seals are split into three reproductively-isolated populations; The West Atlantic, Baltic and East Atlantic populations, the latter is centred around the British Isles. They are known to breed in large colonies in several areas around the British coast. Grey seals are sighted commonly around Liverpool Bay, with Hilbre Island being a popular area for sightings. Outside of breeding season, Grey Seals can be seen covering large areas of the sandbanks near Hilbre Islands.
Grey Seals have a diet comprising of a wide variety of fish. However, it is clear they will eat whatever is available.
Did you know Liverpool Bay Marine Life Trust are starting a Grey Seal identification project by looking at the pelage of individuals?
Did you know West Hoyle is the largest haul-out site in the in the North West of England, with 600 individuals at any one time.