Fur yellowish gray more or less marked and spotted with brown ; whiskers with the bristles undulated.
P. vitulina, Desm. Mammal, p. 244. Flem. Brit. An. p. 17. Common Seal, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 137. pi. 12. Shaw, Gen. Zool. vol. i. p. 250. pi. 70.
Entire length from five to six feet, sometimes more.
Body elongated and somewhat conical, tapering gradually from the breast to the tail: neck very short: head large and round: muzzle broad, flat, and as it were truncated: upper lip furnished with long whiskers, the bristles of which have alternate contractions and dilatations so as to appear of unequal thickness : incisors six above and four below, the lower ones separated in pairs by an intermediate space; grinders all of the false kind, on each side five above and below : no external ears : feet very short; the toes, which are five in number, enveloped in a membrane; claws very strong, larger on the hind than on the fore feet: hair fine and close-set, abundant on the young: colour variable; the general tint yellowish gray with different shades of brown, usually deeper on the head and back than on the sides and abdomen: tail shorter than the hind feet.
Common on many parts of the coast, but prefers rocky shores. Swims and dives readily. Preys on fish, which it devours under the water.
Breeds about Midsummer, and produces two young - Obs. The Pied Seal of Pennant is probably only a variety of this species.