Survival of the Fattest?

Monday 9th November comments: Another day on the Isle of May and the seal colonies continue to change. Everyday newly heavily pregnant cow seals arrive to find a safe spot to give birth and the colonies are becoming very busy with over 1,000 pups born across the isle already. The two main colonies at the north and south end (the latter featured on Autumnwatch) have good numbers but there is room for more and more will arrive over the next few weeks.

We’ve also seen the arrival of plenty of bull seals, in all shapes and sizes. As seen on Autumnwatch bull seals can be of considerable size and it usually is the bigger the better as strength and power will oversee any other male challenger for the area each bull is protecting. Seals are polgynous which means that one male will mate with numerous females and a high ranking male can have a harem of 30 or more cows depending on his size and strength. Soon the real fighting will begin as battle grounds are drawn and the peak of the seal breeding season is not for the light hearted.

Its not just the bull seals showing off the weight as the pups are piling on the pounds as each day a pup can feed up to ten times a day on milk which contains 60% fat. As a result its easy for a pups to put on 2kg a day as it needs a thick layer of blubber to survive its early life once its mother leaves it after 18-21 days. The Grey Seal colonies of the Isle of May are full of busy and we’ll keep on reporting from the colonies as things develop. So don’t go anywhere!

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