Seal spotting at the causeway

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If you're hoping to catch sight of a seal at the Giant's Causeway, autumn and winter may be your chance - breeding season is typically from September to December.

The two types of seals common to seas around the North Coast of Ireland are 'grey seals' and 'common seals'. Despite what the name suggests, grey seals are actually the more prevalent from the two breeds.

The telling difference between them  is the shape of their nostrils - the grey seal has a long nose and straight nostrils whereas common seals have 'V'-shaped nostrils.

The seals are very wary of humans, which is why they are rarely seen coming out of the water onto the rocks and islands closest to the Giant's Causeway.

The best time of day to spot a seal is when the tide is out. While common seals may be spotted lurking around harbours and inlets, grey seals prefer wave-swept rocky shores,. Their pups are born white-furred and remain on land for three to four weeks until weaned. Small at first, they quickly become fat on their mothers' extremely fat-rich milk. Within a month or so they shed the pup fur, grow dense waterproof adult fur and are ready to begin their journey out into the Wild North Atlantic. 

Every so often a young pup can get lost on the shore at the Causeway, and will need to be guided back to the sea by Giant's Causeway rangers.