The Seals on Fanø

The seals are one of the main attractions on Fanø. Here, we can experience the harbour seal and the grey seal in their natural environment. Several places in the sea around Fanø, the seals can be seen basking in the sun on the sandbanks or bopping their heads up in the water.

There are guided tours to Galgerev, a large sandbank, south west of Sønderho, where it is possible to see up to 700 seals. At low tide, you can walk approximately 1.7 km on the seabed all the way to Galgerev. This is a sandbank that isn’t flooded at high tide. Between us and the seals is a channel with a width of approximately 100 metres, so the seals are not disturbed by us. Sometimes, a seal will jump into the water and swim closer to see what is going on. 

 

 

Common Seal

You can see the common seal in all parts of the Danish sea, although in the Wadden Sea the number of seals is particularly high. The common seal was protected from all hunting in 1977, which means that the seals over the years have gotten used to humans not posing much of a danger anymore. Therefore, we can get quite close to them nowadays, and so we are really able to be fascinated by their impressive adjustments to life in the sea. Even though these animals have specialised in life in the sea, they are dependent on being able to go ashore to rest and feed their offspring. As such it is not just the shallow Wadden Sea with all its richness of nutrients and food that's important - equally crucial are the many sand flats found here.

The Grey Seal

In later years it has been possible to not only enjoy watching the common seal but also at times the more rare grey seal in the Wadden Sea. The number of grey seals on the sand flats have grown over the last ten years, and on Langjord off the coast of Fanø it is not unusual to find 50 animals in May as they are shedding their fur. The male grey seals are often very dark, almost black, and can weigh up to 300 kilos. It is more difficult to differentiate the female grey seal from the common seal, although the grey seal is visibly larger and also has a characteristically 'cone' shaped head.