common grey seal areas outside Iceland it seems to be polygamous.
According to foreign study only animals, which have reached
puberty, gather in the appropriated rookeries, which are defended
fiercely by the males. Males, which have not appropriated rookeries, stay away.
The birth period starts in autumn and continues during the months
October to February. Usually each female delivers only one pup.
The mating starts almost immediately after the suckling period
and the males become even more aggressive in their
defence of the
females and rookeries. Each
male may have a harem of up to 20 females.
The white fur of the pups is not suited for water, but they start
shedding soon after birth. The
common grey seals mate in the water or on dry land and the delay of the
development of the embryos during pregnancy is 102 days.
The seals loose considerable weight during the birth- and mating
seasons, because they stop eating.
The shedding period starts late in winter, 2-3 months after the
mating season, and the females start earlier.
The grey seal is
considerably larger than the common seal (harbour seal).
It gets 3 m long and weighs between 300 and 400 kg.
It is thickest around the shoulders and its head is large and
pointed. The most common
colour is grey with dark patches on the back and sides, but the belly,
head and flippers are unicoloured. Its
habitat is on and along the coastlines of the North Atlantic and it
seldom enters the Arctic Ocean. In
Iceland it is spotted along the south, west, and northwestern
coastlines, usually on skerries and in remote areas facing the open sea.
The greatest number of grey seals in Iceland is found in the
Myrar area, on the Breidafiord Bay, in the Westfiords and Strandir area,
and on the Skagi peninsula in the North.