Belongs to: carnivores

Compare with: common seal

Grey seal Halichoerus grypus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Rarer of the two seals found in Essex waters, most common along the rocky northern and western coasts of Britain

Recorded regularly in the Blackwater, Crouch and Roach estuaries, and occasionally in the Thames

Still rare in Essex but may be increasing in numbers


Grey seal have a straight muzzle and their nostrils are parallel slits (common seals' are V-shaped)

Larger than the common seal, up to 2.3m in length and weighing up to 300kg

Usually greyish with blotches


Give birth in autumn on shores

Pups are covered in white fur and keep this for several weeks before it is replaced by an adult coat for swimming

Wander extensively outside the breeding season

  • adults
  • pup

© Brian Dawson

© Tony Gunton