Seal, Gray

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Gray seals are found in temperate and subarctic waters on both sides of the North Atlantic.


  • Males are darker than females.
  •  This species can be distinguished from harbor seals by their longer noses, wider set nostrils and size, which is approximately twice as large as harbor seals.


  • Pups weigh approximately 30 – 35 pounds at birth.
  • They are born in late January or early February.
  • Pups are born with a soft, white hair coat called the lanugo.
  • By the time they are weaned, the lanugo is molted and the pups assume the adult coloration.
  • Seal pups don’t swim until they have molted.
  • Seal pups are weaned after nursing only four weeks during which they gain approximately 100 pounds.


  • Gray seals primarily eat fish. At the Zoo, squid is a treat!


  • Seals have good senses to help them hunt.
  • Their eyesight is excellent because of the time they spend underwater.
  • Gray seals can sleep underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time.
  • The Louisville Zoo has a rich history with this species. Eight seal pups have been born at the Zoo and when twin seal pups were born in 1979, they were the first twins to be documented in a managed system like a Zoo.