Scientific name

Halichoerus grypus atlantica

Whale SENSE Region Found:


Protection status

Protected throughout its range

Where to watch:

Gray seals can be found in coastal waters along the U.S. East Coast.

They are commonly seen resting on rocks and beaches along the coast.

What to watch for:

Body: They have short forelimbs (flippers) and lack external ear flaps, instead having a small hole (opening to the ear canal) on either side of their head.

Gray seals have an elongated, horse-like snout.

Males are darker in color, while females tend to have lighter, spotted coats.

Size: Length: 7.5-10 feet, Weight: 550-880 pounds. Males are bigger than females.

Did you know?

  • They often share their habitat with harbor seals.
  • Gray seal pups have white fur call lanugo, which helps absorb sunlight and trap heat to keep them warm.
  • Gray seal moms only nurse their pups for about three weeks! (Pups are born during winter.)

What do gray seals sound like?

Clip provided by NOAA Fisheries

Threats to gray seals

Learn more about gray seals