The grey seal is a medium sized, robust bodied, seal with a rectangular horse-like head and small widely separated eyes. The nostrils form a W-pattern due to them being parallel and wide apart. They have a long muzzle, wide at the end, with a fleshy area around the whiskers that obscures the lower jaw. In adult males the top of the muzzle is convex, whereas in adult females and pups it is flat. Adults can grow up to 2.3 m long, with newborn pups being ca 1 m long. Adult males are much bigger and heavier than females, have a bigger broader head and are also darker in colour. The coat is dark grey on the back and light grey underneath and has irregular pattern of spots or blotches.Can be confused with other smaller seals, but Halichoerus grypus
has a characteristic head shape which makes them relatively easy to identify.
The grey seal is listed in Annex II of the EC Habtats Directive. The Baltic Sea population of grey seal is listed under Appendix II of the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The grey seal population of the British Isles represents about 38% of the world population, of which ca 90% breed in Scotland (Duck, 2002).