Great news, in the last couple of weeks we have been seeing some very new common seal pups at their favourite haul outs. The common seal pupping season peaks in June and July and pups weigh approx. 10kgs and measure about 85cm long at birth. They are born with their adult coat as the white natal coat is usually shed before birth. They can swim immediately (unlike grey seal pups) and sometimes they are even born in the water. Common seal mothers are great, very attentive staying close while nursing often carrying the pups on her backs while swimming.
The pup feeds on its mothers rich milk (45% fat!) for a few weeks, once it is weaned it is completely independent and has to catch fish for itself. During this time in its life the mother will leave the pup alone on the shore for long periods of time while she feeds up. If you see a pup on its own do not approach it as the mother will probably be quite close by and will not come ashore if you are there. Also you can transfer your scent to the pup and the mother will then not return to it. If you think a pup has been alone for too long or looks sick call the SSPCA or RSPCA who will come and check it out, sometimes pups are abandoned and they have to be rescued.
Common seals are the smaller of the two types of seals we see on our trips; the other is the grey seal. Common seals are recognisable by their dog like faces, short muzzle and v-shaped nostrils, grey seals have long noses and are much bigger in size.