Common Seal

Common Seals

Seals are mammals, they belong to the order Pinnepedia and the family Phocidae, and are thought to have evolved from otter-like ancestors on the shores of the North Atlantic around 15 million years ago.

Our wonderful seals have been in good care with our friends over at SEA LIFE Scarborough. They are ready for their return though and we've heard that they are pretty excited about their new home... The rumour is they can now play with their human friends underwater with the new underwater viewing window!

  • Species - Common Seal, also known as Harbour Seal
  • Latin name - Phoca vitulina
  • Distribution (world) - Britain, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Iceland, East and West coast of Canada, Alaska, California and Hokkaido (Japan)
  • Distribution (Britain) - Scottish Mainland and Islands, Northern Ireland, The Wash and the East Coast of England.
  • Size - Males; up to 1.8 metres and 120kg,
    - Females; up to 1.5 metres and 100kgs
  • Longevity In the wild males may live up to 20 years old and females to 25 years old. In captivity males and females live slightly longer.
  • Breeding - Males reach sexual maturity at 4 - 6 years old, Females at 3 - 5 years.
  • Pupping Sites - Sheltered rocky islands, sand banks and estuaries.

Our Seals

Sex : Female

Date of Birth : 1988

Weight : 90kg

Diet : Herring

Sally, was born in captivity in 1988 at another seal rescue centre. The time of her birth coincided with a outbreak of the Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) and as a result she could not be released into the wild due to the risk of her catching the fatal virus.

By the time the viral outbreak had been contained, Sally had become too tame and used to humans to be safely released into the wild and, unfortunately, the rescue centre was unable to provide permanent care for her.

Sally ended up in the hands of an animal dealer who sadly did not care for her properly resulting in her becoming partially sighted due to a serious eye problem. We were able to rescue Sally and provide her with a safe refuge and proper care here at the Sanctuary, where she has lived happily ever since.


Sex : Female

Date of Birth : 28th June 2004

Weight : 70kg

Diet : Herring

Amber was born on 28th June 2004 at the Blankenberge SEA LIFE Centre to one of their resident female common seals.

It was decided she would join Sally at Hunstanton to keep her company when there were no pups at the Sanctuary, as Sally had been without a permanent companion since Mando was moved to Scarborough SEA LIFE and Marine Sanctuary.

On 30th of September 2004 Amber began her journey to Hunstanton very early that morning. She was going to be brought to England on the ferry from Calais but on that day the French fishermen were blockading all the ports in protest over rising fuel prices. No one had any idea how long these blockades were going to last and staff were starting to get concerned for Amber´s welfare.

It was starting to look as though she would have to be taken back to Blankenberge, but happily for Amber as soon as the Euro tunnel officials were made aware of Amber´s plight they made special arrangements for her to cross under the channel on the Euro tunnel shuttle. The rest of Amber´s journey was uneventful and she arrived at Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary at around 5:45pm that day. Amber and Sally get on fine and will hopefully be friends for a long time to come.


Sex : Female

Date of Birth : 2006

Born : Tynemouth

Diet : Herring

Tyne, a female common seal, was born in 2006 at the Aquarium in Tynemouth, she was moved to Scarborough SEA LIFE Centre before arriving here at the Hunstanton SEA LIFE Sanctuary in 2008.

During feeding time, Tyne loves to pinch fish from Sally and Amber.


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