Bull season

Thursday 1st December comments: The Grey Seal season is still alive and well out on the island but things have changed. The number of pups has now peaked, with good numbers of young reaching independence. However it’s not all sweetness and light as the bulls have arrived.

Slowly and surely the Bull seals have been arriving on the island and that means a big shift in the behaviour and nature of all the seals on the colonies. Bull seals can reach up to 2.3m in length (maximum of 7ft 7in) and can weigh 170–310 kg (370–680 lb) which means some of the biggest can be as much as 48 stone (that’s a huge amount of blubber!) And they only have one thing on their mind as it’s soon the mating season. Bulls will defend a harem of cows against others males from mating with them and this often results in violent fights and serious injuries are common place as fighting intensifies.

Towards the end of the lactation (about 20-21 days) the cow seal will become fertile and will mate although implantation is delayed for up to three months. It is at this time that the bull seals serve their purpose and its often the bigger the better as they fight off rivals. The gestation period for a cow seal is nine months and the end result is of pups being born at the same time of year each season. You really can’t take your eyes off the colony on the Isle of May but gradually things will be start to slow down but we are still some weeks away from that moment. So stay tuned and we’ll keep you up to date with the latest news.

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