The long-faced seal is a fairly large animal, the body length of which is about two meters, in some individuals even three. The body looks quite powerful, as for the head, its front part is quite long, as the name implies. These animals have thick whiskers, often with curved ends. By the way, long-faced seal, gray seal are synonyms.
The coat color of mature individuals varies significantly depending on the place of residence, gender and age. Most seals are gray in color, but shades can be anything from pale to deep. Sometimes there are almost black individuals.
The back of a seal is always colored a little brighter than the belly. Spots of different sizes and shapes, more saturated than the main background, are randomly scattered throughout the body of the animal. They can be oblong, angular, oval. On the sides and belly they are brighter and brighter, and on the back they are pale. The B altic Gray Seal, this sweetest ice lover, seems to differ in coat color from other dry-dwelling individuals.
Habitats and migrations
Most of these animals inhabit the North Atlantic, namely its temperate zone. They are found everywhere in the B altic Sea. This includes the Bothnian (not all), the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland. Seals are also common from the Barents Sea to the English Channel, and can be found off the coast of Ireland and England. In addition, the Faroe Islands, Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides were no exception. They also live in the coastal waters of Central and Northern Norway, as well as Iceland. The gray seal is thus found in many places. Its range is quite extensive.
There are two subspecies of gray seals: the B altic, living in the sea of the same name, and the Atlantic, living in European waters.
What do these animals eat?
The long-snouted seals eat mainly fish, while they eat invertebrates infrequently and little by little. They also feed on shrimp, crabs and some varieties of squid. There is a lot of food for them in the B altic Sea: cod, eels, salmon, herring, bream.
As for the Murmansk coast, they catch sparrow fish there. They also eat cod. But what about European waters? There, seals feed on some species of flatfish and codfish, herring and halibut. But in the Gulf of St. Lawrence there is more food. There, in addition to flounder, cod and herring, there are also salmon, sharks, mackerel and rays. This is what the gray seal eats. The Red Book, by the way, has long been replenished with this animal.
Reproduction and growth
Long-nosed seals are interesting because the femalesbreed at completely different times. And this applies not only to individuals from different habitats, but also to animals from the same population. The B altic seals are the first to breed, having chosen the ice of the sea of the same name; as a rule, they bring offspring in late winter and early spring. What can be said about animals living in other places? All of them give birth on land, and this happens much later than in the B altic seals. The timeline is quite extended. This is what distinguishes the gray seal from many other animals.
Newly born babies are covered with snow-white, silky, long and thick hair. It has a brownish tint. But soon there is a change of fur, and the cubs are overgrown with short and thick hair, characteristic of sexually mature individuals. When the females feed the seals with milk, they grow quite quickly, this lasts for about three weeks.
Some females mature as early as five years old, but absolutely all of them become sexually mature by the age of six. But what about males? They become adults, as a rule, at the age of seven, but apparently begin to take part in reproduction only when they are ten. It is at this age that the gray seal can already be considered sexually mature.
The behavior of long-snouted seals depends mainly on what ecological form they belong to. Let's look at the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the B altic Sea. An ice form lives there. During molting and breeding, these animals can be seen lying on ice floes.near the coast. In other periods, the gray seal is almost always in the water.
As for individuals living in other territories, they come out onto land several times a year, usually in places that they have long chosen. These are mainly small islands or other hard-to-reach areas with rocky shores. However, for seals, it is important that the surfaces are straight and that the slopes to the water are not too steep.
These animals tend to gather in large groups, especially during breeding season. They have two types of sexual relations: polygamous (in addition to them, characteristic of the elephant seal) and monogamous (typical of most real seals). The so-called harems can only be observed on land - there often several female representatives gather around one male.