FactFriday next up is the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) also known as the common seal
The harbour seal is the smaller of the two seal species found in Scotland. They can be distinguished between the grey seal by it’s smaller size, shorter head and more dog-like profile.
They generally feed on fish, but also eat squids, whelks, crabs and mussels. Their average lifespan is 20-30 years.
Harbour seals normally stay underwater for 5-10 minutes when diving for prey. Their blood contains more haemoglobin than ours, allowing them to store more oxygen in the bloodstream.
They limit their oxygen use by decreasing their heart rate to 15 beats a minute and diverting blood away from the skin and intestines, to keep the brain and heart functioning.