Seals around the Cornish Coast

Either basking on rocks or playing in harbours, discover Seals and much more wildlife on Orca Sea Safaris.


Seals in Cornwall

We can see resident Atlantic Grey Seals (Halichoerus grypus) on a large number of our sea safaris either basking on rocks or swimming in the sea close to shore.

Sometimes they seem to be as curious of us as we are of them!

Seals are the most common mammal we spot on our sea safaris. On a very low spring tide we can see them basking in the sun on black rock in Falmouth- it's a great spot to get close and observe them out of the water! Come on a trip and help us find them.

They are found on coasts on both sides of the north Atlantic ocean, as such they are often referred to as the Atlantic grey seal. We are lucky enough to have half of the world population living around the British Isles. They are found in groups all around the Cornish coast. We have around 8-10 seals that we see regularly, but at Godrevy on the north coast, there is a colony of over 70 seals that haul out together!

When the tide is high, we see the seals feeding close to the shore. They catch a mixture of fish, including sand eels and crabs. Seals don't need to feed every day and they fast during the breeding season. They rest and relax when it's low tide and that's when we see them hauled out on the rocks.

The breeding season in the UK is between September and December. Females use the caves around our coast to give birth. She will only stay with her pup for the first 3 weeks of its life, feeding it on rich fatty milk. Then she leaves the pup to fend for itself and will go on to breed again. The pup's amazing instinct forces it to start hunting. It soon looses its white coat and gains its spotty one.

The population around the UK has doubled since 1960. They don't have any predators in these waters apart from human activity. Unfortunately they are prone to getting caught up in fishing gear and marine litter. UK seals are protected under the Conservation of Seals Act (1970). Recently there have been calls from fishermen for a cull, who are blaming seals for declining fish stocks. However there is research to show that the main cause is more likely to be over- fishing. The National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek do a lot of good work to help seals in danger in Cornwall. They rescue, rehabilitate and release young pups who get tangled in hazardous objects or bashed around in winter storms.