Best time to travel to Scotland

Seal Pups in Scotland

The world's largest grey seal population and their cute pups inhabit the shores of the Scottish Orkney Islands

Seal Pups
Seal Pups

Scotland, in particular, the Orkney Islands, is home to 25,000 grey seals which constitutes 40% of the world's total population of the species. A good deal of seals also inhabits the Knoydart peninsula. The best time to get acquainted with the animals is during their pupping season. You will be able to encounter nearly 2,000 cute white-furred baby seals distinguished by their wide dark eyes. The seals spend 90% of their time on the land resting on the beaches along the coastlines, so you will definitely see plenty with ease. These creatures are truly sociable and if you whistle they are likely to follow you. The best time to watch the pups is November. It is also preferable​ not to bother the moms with their pups during the first six weeks after birth as the stressed moms can accidentally injure their pups.

Practical info

When are seal pups commonly found in Scotland?

The ideal time to sightseeing Scottish seal pups is during their pupping season, which lasts from late September through December. The largest population of the gray seals in the world is found on Scottish Orkney Islands, having around 25,000 gray seals. Visitors can expect to meet around 2,000 white-furred cute baby seals during their visit in November, while the pup population spends most of their time resting on the coastlines and are easy to spot. Show more

Which location has the largest grey seal population globally?

The largest population of grey seals globally is in Scottish Orkney Islands and constitutes 40% of the species' total population. As a result, seal watching is a common activity in the region, with several organized boat tours to take visitors into the water to watch the seals swim and play. A significant number of seals are also found on the Knoydart Peninsula. Show more

How many grey seals can one expect to see during the pupping season in Orkney Island?

Orkney Islands in Scotland is home to around 25,000 Grey Seals, which is 40% of the world's population of the species. November is the best month to sightseeing, with around 2,000 of white-furred cute baby seals during the seal pupping season between September and December. The newborns can be easily spotted as they remain on the coastlines for long periods. Show more

What are the necessary safety precautions to take when sightseeing seal pups with mothers?

Observation from a safe distance is critical while sightseeing seal pups and their mothers to avoid causing them any stress. It is best to avoid disturbing them during the first six weeks after childbirth, avoiding any accidental injuries to the offspring. Visitors must not approach or get too close to the animals and should not produce any loud sounds that could scare them. Show more

Can grey seals be approached, and how safe is it?

Grey Seals are sociable, but caution is necessary when dealing with wild animals. If they feel safe, the seals may also approach humans. Avoid touching or feeding the animals at all times and keep your distance. Harassing or threatening them is against the law in marine-protected areas in Scotland, whereas a guided tour following all safety protocols can be an excellent way to observe these majestic creatures. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin