What does it feel like to meet an animal from your dreams? In this Behind the Mask video, young Mina Fischer snorkels with a curious grey seal in 12°C (54°F) waters. Florian Fischer and team film the encounter from above and below. The accompanying song, Closest I Get, is by Katie Herzig.
It is a rare treat to be approached by a grey seal. Sue Sayer of the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust, via The Outdoor Swimming Society, notes that “obviously we do not encourage people to deliberately seek out seals to swim with, but if seals approach you then that is fine as the encounter is on their terms.”
“Remember their flippers are not sensitive so they explore objects with their mouths (like dogs) often ‘mouthing’ with their teeth to test density. Clearly this can be alarming! But if you remain calm and avoid fast movements, even then you are unlikely to be injured…
“Grey seals are globally rare – the UK has 38% of the world’s population (and 38% is only around 110,000 – the same number as red squirrels in the UK). They are our equivalent of the African Elephant (which are globally more numerous than grey seals). So consider yourselves lucky to be encountering them at all!”
Plus, more about grey seals from Wildlife Trusts:
“The grey seal is the larger of the two UK seal species, and if you catch a good look at them you’ll see how they got their scientific name Halichoerus grypus – it means hook-nosed sea pig! These mammals spend most of their time out at sea feeding on fish. They return to land to rest and can often be seen ‘hauled out’, lying on British beaches. Grey seals give birth to fluffy white pups in the autumn. These adorable pups stay on land until they have lost their white coats and trebled their body weight.”
Previously from Behind the Mask: Mobula rays swarm near La Paz, Mexico.
Then watch these pinniped videos:
• Grey seals on the foamy beaches of Bardsey Island
• The animals of South Georgia Island
• Charlie Bird meets some cuddly seals
• Swimming with the Galápagos Sea Lions of Isla Plaza Sur
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