British wildlife recordings
Halichoerus grypus : Grey Seal - Phocidae
The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »
OS Grid Reference(402500,88500)
Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus
This is a recording of the call of the grey seal. The plaintive drawn-out calls made by seals have led to many legends and stories surrounding them. There are in fact two species of seal in Britain; the common seal with a rounded face, and the grey seal with an elongated snout similar to a Labrador dog. Seals are commonly seen at traditional 'haul-outs' between the high and low tide marks. Their ungainly movement on land is completely transformed when they enter the water, where their perfectly streamlined bodies enable agile movement necessary to feed among the kelp on fish and other seafood. The grey seal is the more vocal of the two species, and during the autumn the female cows will visit remote, exposed rocky coasts and sea caves where they gather to give bird to their pups. The pups are born pure white and produce a crying sound very similar to a human baby. The breeding colonies are noisy affairs, with females protective of their pups howling at each other, and the male bull seals producing a low-frequency sound typically described as a steam train. Although once hunted extensively, seals are now afforded legal protection in British waters.