Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Island's daughter

The Seals

Leave her alone,
She is the Island's daughter.
Sleek heads, dark heads
Are risen from the water:
Leaver her the company
Her songs have brought her.

The old grey music doctors
Of the ocean,
Their holy, happy eyes
Shining devotion,
Applaud and blow
In foam and soft commotion.

It is her hour.
The Island's only daughter.
The dark, sleek heads
Are risen from the water:
Leave her the company
Her songs have brought her.

L.A.G. Strong

It's no secret that I adore the Grey Seals that spend at least part of their lives in Skomer's waters. The pupping season has begun and since beginning of August 51 seal pups have been born.

When Grey Seal pups are born they wear a white coat which they moult into the adult pelage after three weeks. They look very cute when they are lying quite helplessly on the beaches waiting to be fed. At birth they weigh between 12 and 20kg but they soon turn from an elongated looking creature into a balloon shaped one and then weigh 60 or more kilograms. They feed on very rich milk with a fat content of up to 60% (butter has a fat content of 80%) and gain nearly two kilograms of weight per day. 

The males are massive, their skin is covered in scars, the flesh around their necks lies in folds and they look truly scary. When they fight with each other, for the right to mate with the females on the beach, they grunt and bite often drawing blood, churn up the water and make pebbles fly.

The females are beautiful sleek animals with dark shiny eyes and smooth skin. Their fur can show the most amazing patterns and they are caring and gentle with their pups. However they become fearsome warriors when their offspring is in danger.

(Skomer Warden)

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