British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Rescue


UK Marine Mammals

Species most likely to be encountered.


This group of marine mammals includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. The group is divided into the mysticetes (baleen whales) and odontocetes (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises). Most of the species tending to strand in the UK are odontocetes, i.e. toothed whales.


Seals are pinnipeds, which includes true seals (Phocidae), sea lions and fur seals (Otariidae) and walruses (Odobenidae). The two resident species of seal in British and Irish coastal waters are both true seals, the Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) and Common Seal (Phoca vitulina). Occasionally other (Arctic migrant) species are seen, e.g. Harp Seal (Phoca groenlandica), Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida) and Hooded Seal (Cystophora cristata).