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Seal FAQs

Q: What species of seals do we have in Ireland?

A: While there are 33 species of seal in the world, we only get two in Ireland- the Common (Harbour) seal and the Grey seal. Despite the misleading name, the Grey seal is the most commonly seen seal in Ireland. There are many differences between them, but grey seals are bigger and have longer snouts than common seals. Grey seals are also the ones with the white furry coats when they are pups! If you’d like more detail, visit our dedicated seal facts page here, or even better,  come visit our centre in Wexford and see for yourself!

Q: Where do the seals in the centre come from and why are they here?

A: All of the seals in the centre were found by people like you! These people reached out to us because they thought the seal needed help and we came out to rescue them. All of the seals we take in were either sick, injured or orphaned. We do not take in any seals that are fine on their own because it is always better for them to be in the ocean!

Q: How long can they hold their breath?

A: Gray seals can hold their breath for over an hour, whereas Common seals can hold their breath for about a half hour. This is really helpful for diving under the water to find fish to eat!

Q: How long can they stay out of the water?

A: A seal can live out of the water indefinitely, as long as it had enough food to eat and was at a nice temperature. Unlike dolphins and whales, seals are able to support their own weight on the land. It is perfectly normal for them to come up onto the beach for long periods of time!

Q: What do seals eat?

A: Seals primarily eat fish, but will sometimes eat squid and crabs if they can find them. While in our care, we feed them a steady supply of herring in order to make sure they are getting all of the nutrients that they need while helping them to put on blubber quickly.

Q: What are the threats to seals in the wild?

A: The primary threat to seals is humans! Between pollution of the ocean from garbage and oil spills, as well as some fishing and boating practices, humans have caused a lot of trouble for seals. Another big issue is people scaring them while they are on the land, which can cause great amounts of stress. If you see seals on the beach, stay a safe distance away and call us if you think it may need some help.

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