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Gray Seal Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Halichoerus grypus
  • Class

    Mammals
  • Order

    Carnivora
  • Range

    The gray seal can be found throughout the northern Atlantic, from Canada to Russia and Scandinavia.

  • Habitat

    Gray seals typically inhabit rocky coasts and islands, although they can also be found on ice shelves and icebergs. They spend much of their time hunting in the water.

  • Niche

    Gray seals feed primarily on fish and mollusks. The species has been known to dive more than 150 feet in pursuit of deep-water fish. They are vulnerable to predation by great white sharks, killer whales and humans.

  • Life History

    Seals gather in large groups during mating season, and males compete for breeding access. After mating, females delay implantation of the fertilized egg to ensure they give birth during favorable seasonal conditions. The single pup is entirely white at birth and quickly gains weight from the fat-rich milk of the mother. The mother leaves her pup within a few weeks, leaving it to live off its blubber deposits until it sheds its white fur and gains a thicker, adult coat enabling it to survive at sea.

  • Special Adaptations

    • The gray seal's fur is thick and waterproof, helping the animal maintain warmth in its cold-water habitat.
    • This streamlined mammal can reach more than 7 feet in length.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 Get Map/Directions Call 312-742-2000

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