Peak time for spotting common seals in rivers

Common seal by Hugh Clark
Common seal by Hugh Clark

DON’T be surprised if you see common seals gliding up the Ouse or the Cuckmere at this time of year.

Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT) said they believe the animals sometimes pursue fish up these tidal rivers and explained this behaviour is at its peak in February and March.

Members of the public need only be concerned if they can tell a seal is injured, looks very thin or if there is a pup on its own in distress.

In fact seals can live happily in tidal rivers for a week at a time before heading back to sea.

You might even be lucky enough to see them on a riverbank lifting their head and tail off the ground in a banana shape which is thought to help regulate their temperature on land and aid digestion.

Common seals have a short muzzle with v-shaped nostrils and are quite dog-like in profile.

They are one of two types of seal which breed in UK waters. The other is the grey seal.

A colony of common seals makes its home in Chichester Harbour - the animals are also known as harbour seals because they like this habitat.

To tell SWT about the wildlife you see visit the wildlife advice pages at www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk or if you have a wildlife query ring SWT’s hotline on 01273 494777.

Photo shows common seals by Hugh Clark.