Seal answers

MAY I attempt to answer Mary Rapley’s letter about seals of a week or two ago.

Grey seal pups are born in the autumn and I think the reason you only saw pups on your boat trip is that the adult grey seals (the ones with the Roman nose) were probably out at sea fishing to replenish fat reserves lost during pup birth and bringing up of the pups.

Grey seals feed on cod, whiting and salmon and are protected from September 1 to December 31.

There are some 85,000 grey or Atlantic seals around the British coast (about 60 per cent of the world’s population).

Grey seals are noisy animals, barking, hissing, hooting and snarling.

Common seals (the ones with the doggy face) are less common, surprisingly. There are about 20,000 and the largest groups gather around The Wash and on the Norfolk coast.

Common seals are smaller than their grey cousins. They congregate in groups of 100 or more and feed from the bottom of the sea.

The only noise made by common seals is a plaintive bark. Common seals are protected from June 1 to August 31.

To get further information about Coquet Island seals, I suggest getting in touch with Paul Morrison, the warden of Coquet Island, who, to the best of my knowledge, lives in Amble.

David Turnbull,

Former Wildlife Ranger,

Alnwick