Our Local Seals
The seal breeding season is now well and truly over and we must wait another 10 months before we can try to spot the endearing sight of a large female seal (called a cow), with her small, white, fluffy pups. The coastline all around Mwnt is ideal for seal watching. We have a large resident population of Atlantic Grey Seals and, whether you are out walking on the coastal path, or enjoying a boat trip in the bay, you may well see a group of seals, hauled out on the shingles of our many hidden coves.
Look carefully, though, they are so well-camouflaged that you could easily mistake them for a group of rocks! If you’re in a boat and you are still and patient, some of these seals may swim towards you and pop their heads up out of the water so that they can inspect you closely. Very inquisitive by nature, and also very short-sighted; they need to get up close so that they can make out who or what you are!
September is the time that most of the females in our bay give birth; they find a spot on a pebbly beach, well out of the water, and give birth to just one pup each. Seals are mammals and feed their pups on milk which is incredibly fatty and nutritious. It needs to be because the mums feed and nurture their pups for about two weeks before leaving them, high and dry, to fend for themselves.
Those two weeks are critically important for the pups. They need to gain a huge amount of fat to keep them fortified until they learn how to swim and hunt fish for themselves. Born white and fluffy, they soon lose this appealing baby fur and become beautiful, dark, sleek juveniles and are soon completely independent.
If you do see a pup alone on a beach, it is very important that you leave it alone, completely undisturbed. Its mother will almost certainly be in the water nearby, keeping an eye on her baby. Interference by humans may break that mother / baby bond and she may desert it with tragic consequences. Watch quietly from a distance and marvel at the sight of these animals, but please do not disturb them.