Marine Mammals

Grey Seal

Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)
Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Inishark and its nearby islets supports a breeding colony of Grey Seal, a species that is listed on Annex II of the E.U. Habitats Directive. The breeding population is estimated at 749-963 individuals (in 2005). A one-off moult count in 2007 gave a figure of 270 seals.

There is a small colony on the stags of Inishbofin in Westquarter.

Seals pup from September to November. Pups weigh 14kg at birth and have a soft white coat, which moults after about 3 weeks.

If you find a white coat pup on the beach, its mum is probably close by. She will come ashore to feed him when there are no people around. She has very rich milk with a 60% fat content. Pups can gain 2 kg bodyweight per day, gaining a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm in deep seas. They are weaned at 18-21 days. Healthy pups look fat and sleepy. Do not disturb the pup. Leave the beach so his mum can return to feed him. Pups happily stay on land for their first 3 weeks, until they have moulted their white coat.

Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)
Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Sometimes a pup may look thin and hungry. He could be sick, injured or have lost his mother. It is best to wait till after the next high tide to see if Mum comes back. If in doubt ring Seal Rescue Ireland 087 1955 393

If the pup is on Inishbofin email us and we will check it out for you

DO NOT PUT THE PUP INTO THE SEA! He may not have enough blubber to keep him warm, and you may get bitten!


Bottlenose dolphins are regulary seen in Cleggan bay and often ride the bow wave of the island ferry.

Common dolphins are also occasionally seen and there have been occasional strandings at the east end beaches.