Friday, 10 November 2017

Seal Cam


The first few seal pups of the year have been spotted – grey seals around the country have started to give birth!

See for yourself...

You can see these wonderful animals in the comfort of your own home, by visiting the live seal cam on South Walney Nature Reserve - the only breeding colony of grey seals in the North West of England!

In Wirral we are lucky enough to have two of the richest marine environments in the region: the Dee and Mersey estuaries. We are working to secure the future for these internationally important habitats and those of the Irish Sea. If you'd like to find out more about the campaign for Living Seas in the North West, visit the Wildlife Trust's Irish Sea website.

A very large mammal, the grey seal spends most of its time out at sea where it feeds on a variety of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and squid. Although they’re perfectly adapted to life in the water, as a mammal they have to breathe air. Seals can hold their breath for eight minutes at a time!

How do they do this? Researchers at the University of Liverpool discovered that an adaptation in an oxygen storing protein in marine mammals’ blood allows them to store a huge amount of oxygen in their muscles – like having their own oxygen tank.

Seals haul-out in large numbers to rest, breed, get warm and dry, digest food and give birth as well as moulting their fur annually. On Wirral, grey seals occupy the east side of the West Hoyle sand bank, near to the Hilbre islands, with some venturing into the Dee. However our seals don’t actually breed here. After a summer stocking up on food, mums journey elsewhere at this time of year to have their pups on beaches anytime between now and December.

Being born at such a harsh time of year means that the first few weeks of pups’ lives are spent fattening up on their mum’s milk! When they have enough blubber to keep them warm, they swap their fluffy white coat for something more suited to the water. Around a month after the pups are born, mothers leave the beaches and head back out to sea to feed and mate again. The pups remain on their own until they have completely moulted their white coats and trebled their birth weight; at which point they head to the sea to hunt for themselves.

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