Aberdeenshire premature pup

BDMLR Medics in Aberdeenshire attended a very small grey seal pup on the beach at St Combs, Aberdeenshire, on Thursday 28 September. The sea was rough and the pup was tucked high up on the beach towards the dunes, well away from the water. After arriving on scene quickly, to prevent any further disturbance, BDMLR Medics began essential monitoring to establish whether the mother was still around. 

A couple of adult seals were observed in the water nearby but neither appeared to be interested in the shoreline and the pup continued to be quiet and unresponsive. Monitoring continued throughout the night as grey seal mothers are known to sometimes only feed after dusk especially when there has been some level of disturbance, but there was still no sign of the mother. 

At around 9am the following day, with the weather worsening and knowing the pup hadn’t fed for at least 19 hours, the decision was made to lift the pup from the beach and get it to the nearest vet. After a full assessment and some life saving rehydration fluids, the pup was ready to move to the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Centre for further treatment. Grey seal pups are born weighing around 9-14kg and with this one weighing just 6.75kg, it’s almost certain to have been born prematurely. Another indication of this was the lack of teeth. While these are usually very small in seal pups, they quickly emerge from the gums and a full set can comprise up to 38. The first few days in care are critical, but so far the pup is doing well and has already increased 1.25kg on a diet of fish soup. 

Photo credit: Angela Long