Name: Common Seal
Scientific name: Phoca vitulina
Nature Stars: 60
About: The smaller of our two seal species, Common Seals can grow to almost 2 metres long. Very variable in colour, from blonde to black, but generally greyish with dark spots. Common Seals are more commonly found around sheltered shores and estuaries, where they haul out on sand banks and on beaches. When out of the water, they sometimes hold their body in a curved 'banana' position, with their head and tail both in the air at the same time. Like Grey Seals, they feed on fish. The young are born during the summer.
How to identify: Can be told from Grey Seal by its smaller size and by the shorter head with a blunter, more dog-like profile.
Where: Found around the coasts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and eastern England.
Fantastic fact: Common Seals can stay underwater for up to 10 minutes at a time
Photograph credit: Stefan Johansson