Grey Seals

Faray and the Faray Holm provide a breeding ground for a large colony of grey seals, Halichoerus grypus. These seals, protected by Scotland since 1970, are relatively rare, with 40% of the world’s population and 95% of the EU population being in Great Britain. Faray and the Holm of Faray is the second largest breeding location accounting for about 9% of the annual births or 3300 pups per year.

Photo: Douglas Caldow

Seals spend most of the year at sea, travelling widely in search of food. They come ashore from autumn through December to form breeding colonies. They look for rocky shores, beaches, and caves, and small, uninhabited islands like Faray and the Holm of Faray are particularly attractive. Females give birth to a single pup, and remain for about three more weeks until the pups develop their second coat. During this period the island’s fresh water pools, undisturbed shores, and adjacent seas provide an attractive home. The location also provides a suitable location for moulting in January and February, and a convenient place for haul out any time of year.