Seals

The island hosts resident grey seals around all year, however animals from all over the Irish Sea visit Manx waters to feed or haul out and rest

Seals are marine mammals, which, although they haul out on land, are far better adapted for living in the sea.

Grey seal pup. Eleanor StoneOn land they look cumbersome and lazy, but underwater they are fast, acrobatic and graceful. They can dive to 70 metres and hold their breath for up to about 30 minutes!

Being intelligent creatures they are also very inquisitive and playful, as anyone who has been diving with them can tell you!

They feed on a wide variety of fish and crustaceans, often hunting near the sea bed.

Two species of seal can be seen around the Isle of Man, they grey and the common, although confusingly it is the grey seal which is by far the most common!

Catching a glimpse

The best haul out location on the Island is Kitterland, the small island between the mainland and the Calf of Man; in the summer there are often over a hundred seals crowding onto the rocks.

Other good places to spot them are Douglas and Maughold Heads, the Ayres and Peel harbour, where there are usually a few hanging around hoping for an easy meal from the fishermen.

Read about our seal surveying work

In the autumn, females come on to land to give birth to a single, fluffy white pup. Usually they pick remote locations, such as the Calf of Man, although sometimes pups can be seen on the mainland too.

A seal underwater. Caroline Perry/Phil RoristonBe cautious - do not approach!

Every year there are a few seal pups born on other beaches round the mainland. Although they look cute and harmless, and are lovely sight to see, they can be aggressive so please don’t approach them.

Their mothers will also abandon their pup if it has been unduly disturbed, so it’s important to keep dogs away from them too.

What do to if you think there is a problem
It is usual for the mothers to leave them alone for a while on the beach, so there is no need to be alarmed if they appear to be on their own, their mum is probably not far away.

However if you are concerned that a pup has been abandoned or is injured, please contact the MSPCA (Tel: 01624 851672 or find contact info here who will assess the situation.