If you’ve been enjoying the recent warm weather out on our coasts you might have seen seals playing in the waves or soaking up the sunshine.

But did you know that we actually have two seal species in the Solent, with unique appearances and personalities?

Just remember these top tips for identifying each kind, and you’ll be spotting the difference in no time.

Grey seals have heads that appear oval from the front, and longer noses with parallel nostrils.

They grow to a larger size, often reaching over two metres in length.

When hauled out on the shore they stay closer together and are more likely to be vocal.

Grey seal pups will spend up to three weeks suckling from their mother, and a few weeks more shedding their fluffy white coat, which they must moult before taking to the water.

Common or harbour seals have heads that appear round from the front, and shorter noses with nostrils that form a ‘V’ shape.

They are often seen in a distinctive ‘banana’ position with their head and tail in the air; it is thought that they do this to regulate their temperature.

When hauled out, common seals value their space and are relatively quiet.

They tend to keep a little distance between one another when resting on the shore and you may see them headbutt or growl at each other if one seal infringes on another’s personal space.

Their pups are born with adult coats, allowing them to swim and dive when only a few hours old. Despite their name they’re actually less common than grey seals!

We keep an eye on our local seal populations, so if you spot any in our area please let us know.

Our online form makes it easy to tell us about your sightings, and the information you share can help us to secure wildlife protections and challenge harmful development.

Visit our website and report a sighting: www.hiwwt.org.uk/secrets-of-the-solent/marine-mammal-sightings