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  • Johnnie

Seal watching on North Uist, Outer Hebrides

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Common seal, Berneray, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Seals of North Uist

Seals can regularly be seen swimming around Balranald Bay from the cottage kitchen window and I can happily watch them all day. North Uist is a brilliant place to spot both Common and Grey Seals, which are the only species of Seal permanently resident and breeding in Britain. Scotland is home to 85% of the U.K. population of Common Seals and males can grow up to nearly two metres long which is a little smaller than Grey Seals. Pups are born around the end of June and unlike Grey Seals they can swim and dive from birth. Every adult Seal has a unique coat pattern, eats 3 to 5 kg of fish a day and can live for 30 years.

How to tell the difference between Common and Grey seals

It can be difficult to tell the difference between Common and Grey Seals in the water. The Common Seal has a concave forehead, no visible external ears and typically V shaped nostrils that meet at the bottom. Grey Seals have parallel nostrils that don't meet. On land, Common Seals can have a "head up, tail up" posture as seen in the photograph above (taken whilst out walking at Berneray).

Seal and other wildlife watching boat trips around the Uist coast can easily be arranged with local operators.

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