Pinniped Species


Gray Seal

Scientific Name: Halichoerus grypus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Halichoerus
Species: grypus
Other Common Names: Gray seal
Average Length:

Males – 10ft
Females – 7.5ft

Average Weight:

Males – 880lbs
Females – 550lbs


Gray seals are found along coastal areas from Massachusetts to the Baltic Sea across North Atlantic. Young seals disperse broadly, sometimes traveling over 1,000 miles from where they were born.  


These seals are named for their coloration. They have a silver-grey coat with dark spots scattered throughout. Male gray seals also have a long arched nose. Pups are born with a creamy white fur that sheds 3 weeks after birth.

Diet in the Wild:

Fish, crustaceans, squid, octopus and even seabirds on occasion.


Gray seals are founded generally in cold coastal waters. They share their habitat with many organisms such as Harbor seals.

Conservation Status:

There are three different stocks spread throughout the world and the Baltic Sea stock is listed as “endangered” but other two: Western and Eastern North Atlantic stocks continue to grow in numbers.

Threats in the Wild:

Humans impact the Gray seal populations with oil spill exposure, boat strikes, marine debris, hunting and harassment. Over the last few centuries, Gray seals were hunted in large numbers, but in recent years their numbers have begun to bounce back.

Fun Facts:

Gray seals can hold their breath for over 1 hour. Their scientific name means “hook-nosed sea pig” in Latin.

Resident Animals: none