Halichoerus grypus is an opportunistic feeder consuming between four and six percent of its body weight in one feeding per day. The diet consists of a large variety of fish and the occasional crustaceans and mollusks. According to King, at least 29 different species of fish have been recorded as being eaten by these seals. Fish taken include nearly any species found at pelagic and midwater levels as well as bottom dwelling fish at depths of seventy or more meters.
The feeding methods of the grey seal vary among populations, however they are most often social feeders. Social feeding reduces the opportunity for the prey to escape thereby increasing the feeding efficiency. When small fish are caught by the seal, they are usually consumed underwater and are swallowed whole. However, when large fish are captured, they are brought to the surface and held in the prehensile front flippers. The fish head is then bitten off and discarded, while the remainder of the fish is broken into small pieces able to be swallowed.
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore )
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