Grey seal

(Halichoerus grypus)




Facts about this animal

Males have a dark-grey fur with light spots. They reach a length of about 2.3 m and weight up to 300 kg. Females have a silver-grey fur with dark-grey spots. They are much smaller than males, reaching a lenght of about 1.8 m and a weight of 150 kg. Pups are born in autumn in the eastern Atlantic populations and in winter in the western population. At first they have a dense, soft silky white fur which is replaced after about a month by the dense waterproof adult fur.

Did you know?
that although similar in appearance and life history, there is no exchange between the Canadian grey seals and those of Europe and the Baltic?


Name (Scientific) Halichoerus grypus
Name (English) Grey seal
Name (French) Phoque gris
Name (German) Kegelrobbe
Name (Spanish) Foca gris
Local names Estonian: Hallhüljes
Finnish: Halli
Swedish: Gråsäl
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range The Grey seal occurs in three distinct populations: 1. The population of the Eastern Atlantic lifes mainly on the coasts of Iceland, the Uk, Irland and the Färöer Islands, and occationally in the North sea. 2. The population of the eastern Atlantic lifes on the western coast of Canada (Labrador to Nova Scotia). 3. The third population occurs in the Baltic Sea (mainly on the coasts of Sweden, Finland and Estonia) and is a subspecies of its own. (H. g. balticus).
Habitat On rocky islands and coasts, caves, sandy islands and beaches, and on land-fast ice or on pack ice. They feed in cold open waters
Wild population About 117,000 and 171,000 at the start of the breeding season (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 87 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Grey seal


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 76 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka

Why do zoos keep this animal

The grey seal is kept for educational reasons, in North America and Europe as an important element of the native coastal fauna, and as a representative of the earless seals. Although less appealing to the public than the common seal,it is still a good ambassador species to convey marine conservation messages.