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Akwarium Gdyńskie

Morskiego Instytutu Rybackiego – Państwowego Instytutu Badawczego

Al. Jana Pawła II 1, 81-345 Gdynia


Tel.: +48 587 326 601
Fax.: +48 587 326 611

Common seals (Phoca vitulina)

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Common seals (Phoca vitulina)

The largest population of common seals (about 20,000) inhabits the shores of the British Isles. Also, smaller groups inhabit the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean: the shores of Iceland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Holland. A separate subspecies of common seal inhabits the northern part of the Baltic Sea. The common seals arrived at the Lithuanian Sea Museum from Holland.
Common seals feed on almost 30 species of salt-water fishes: flounder, Baltic herring, herring, cod, eel, sand-eel and sparling. One seal eats anywhere from 5 to 8.5 kg of fish a day. Males can attain a length of up to 150-180 cm and a weight of 50-110 kg. Females are somewhat smaller: they grow up to 150 cm in length and 45-90 kg in weight. Males reach sexual maturity after 5-6 years, and females of 3-4 years of age may give birth to pups. Common seals mate in September. Ten months later – at the end of June or beginning of July – pups are born. The pups are born singly and well-developed (70-90 cm in length and 9-11 kg in weight), and are capable of swimming and diving within hours. Suckling for four to six weeks, pups feed on the mother’s rich, fatty milk. During that time, a subcutaneous fat layer develops and pups can start living independently.