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gray seal pupping cam

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gray seal pupping cam

Gray seals, also known as Atlantic seals or horsehead seals, are native to the north Atlantic Ocean. They are sociable animals that form colonies for breeding and feeding.

Bulls generally measure around 6 feet in length. Cows are typically 4.5 feet in length.

Gray seals feed on a wide variety of marine animals such as fish, squid, and crustaceans. Cod, flatfish, skates, and herring are the primary their primary prey and adult gray seals can consume up to 12 pounds of fish in a single day.

Gray Seal Reproduction

Different populations of gray seals breed at different times of the year. The Canadian population featured on this live seal cam breeds from mid-December to February. Caves, sandy beaches, rocky islands and ice floats tend to be favorite breeding locations for female gray seals.

The females come to land just a few days before giving birth and will not feed for several weeks while lactating. Pups are born with a longhaired white coat which they will shed three to four weeks after birth. Pups nurse on the highly caloric mother's milk (60% fat) for nearly 3 weeks. During the nursing period, the pup will gain nearly four pounds per day!

After the pup is weaned, the mother will leave the pup to fend for itself and then mate again. Seal mating can take place on land or in the water and dominant males can mate with up to 10 females; sub-dominant males mate with just one female.

The gestation period lasts for 11 months and the seals will return to the rookery in a years’ time to start the breeding and mating process over again.

  • grant: $500,000 - National Audubon Society, Inc.

    To support Seabird Restoration Program activities in Maine

  • topic: gray seals

  • location: seal island

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about the live seal cam

Gray seal pup

During the shortest days of the year, hundreds of gray seals clamber onto Seal Island for an extraordinary mass breeding event. At this second largest of just four U.S. colonies, the seals come ashore for just a few weeks to give birth and feed their pups. The 300 pound females have one pup per year, with the peak of births in mid January. At birth, the compelling pups are dressed in a suit of thick, white fur (lanugo) which they begin molting at about three weeks of age.

Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 65 acre sanctuary managed in collaboration with the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program (Project Puffin), which operates a summer field station here. The program has successfully restored Maine’s largest colonies of Atlantic Puffins and Common and Arctic Terns. From May through August, the seabirds can be viewed on live cameras operated by explore.org.

For over 200 years Seal Island was also a summer campsite for fishermen harvesting herring, cod, lobster. Excessive seabird hunting for food and feathers led to the loss of the puffin colony here. From the 1940s to 1960s the Navy used the island as a bombing target. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired the island in 1972. The island is closed to public landing because of the unexploded ordnance and unique wildlife. Today, seals face new threats including entanglement in fishing gear, chemical and plastic pollution and illegal hunting. They are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

about

location: Seal Island Wildlife Refuge, Maine

best hours: 8:00am - 4:30pm

time zone: Eastern Standard Time

links: Project Puffin and Adopt-A-Puffin
Maine Coastal Islands National Refuge
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Riverhead Foundation

Gray seals, also known as Atlantic seals or horsehead seals, are native to the north Atlantic Ocean. They are sociable animals that form colonies for breeding and feeding.

Bulls generally measure around 6 feet in length. Cows are typically 4.5 feet in length.

Gray seals feed on a wide variety of marine animals such as fish, squid, and crustaceans. Cod, flatfish, skates, and herring are the primary their primary prey and adult gray seals can consume up to 12 pounds of fish in a single day.

Gray Seal Reproduction

Different populations of gray seals breed at different times of the year. The Canadian population featured on this live seal cam breeds from mid-December to February. Caves, sandy beaches, rocky islands and ice floats tend to be favorite breeding locations for female gray seals.

The females come to land just a few days before giving birth and will not feed for several weeks while lactating. Pups are born with a longhaired white coat which they will shed three to four weeks after birth. Pups nurse on the highly caloric mother's milk (60% fat) for nearly 3 weeks. During the nursing period, the pup will gain nearly four pounds per day!

After the pup is weaned, the mother will leave the pup to fend for itself and then mate again. Seal mating can take place on land or in the water and dominant males can mate with up to 10 females; sub-dominant males mate with just one female.

The gestation period lasts for 11 months and the seals will return to the rookery in a years’ time to start the breeding and mating process over again.

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