Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Britain's other seal....from California

I was delighted to spot a little fat grey caterpillar asleep on the rocks of a beach that lined Pebble Beach Golf Course near Monterey (and no I didn't play around - I just checked out the scenery and the trees of which more later). Only when it woke up and looked at everyone did its true nature become apparent to a number of tourists' amazement. This is a harbour seal (Phoca vitulina), a delightful little (6 foot tops) true seal from around the northern hemisphere's cooler waters.

harbour seal2

As the post title suggests these cuties are also found in the UK and are our other breeding seal besides the grey. They are easily distinguished by having a frankly much cuter face than the grey seal (which looks more dog/wolf like and less manga-esque)

harbour seal

Obviously these guys are much less of a mouthful than the elephant seals and so they have a few predators - mainly larger sharks and orcas in the water, I'd have thought coyote, wolf, bear and even large birds would all be a risk to the pups depending on the area. As an adult sunning itself on a rock though our friend here had little to worry about besides catching some rays and looking cute for his public.


Patrick Belardo said...

This is the one we get most often along the coast of NJ here. Sometimes they come real close to shore and play in the surf.

tai haku said...

They seem to get everywhere Patrick - they've even been seen up the Thames near London's houses of parliament.