Although common seals prefer to stay close to the shore, they may spend several days out at sea feeding and may travel up to 50km looking for new feeding grounds.
Common seals may grow up to 1.85 meters in length and weigh up to 130 kilograms, with males generally slightly larger than females. The round, elongated and streamlined body is covered by a coat of thick, short hairs that range in color from nearly white with dark spots to black or dark brown with white rings. The hair, together with the thick fat layer, protects these animals from the cold.
They are social animals, forming groups while on land and during the breeding/pupping season (in Northern Ireland from April to July). It is in these hauling areas when they can be easily observed. This has to be done with care, though, as these animals can be easily scared by humans. Both in Ireland and the UK common seals can be easily seen all year round.