Seal pup surprises aquarium staff with birth at St Andrews

The attraction is now home to five common seals following the unexpected arrival of a pup.

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A healthy seal pup has been born at St Andrews Aquarium in Fife, but its arrival caused some confusion.

Keepers at the attraction weren’t expecting any new additions to the group of four common seals currently housed there.

Keepers made the discovery on Thursday when completing their morning checks.

Eleanor Ballantyne from St Andrews Aquarium told STV News: “I think to start off with it was definitely shock, good shock but definitely shock.

“We did have our suspicions that there may be a pup on route.

“Our female had some weight that she didn’t lose from winter and we were noticing that the weight was starting to not really budge so we’d been in contact with vets and we had an incline of a potential arrival but nothing set in stone.”

The pregnancy term for a common seal is typically around nine months.

St Andrews Aquarium knows that 23-year-old Nelly is the mother, and they suspect seven-year-old Silver is the father, one of three males in the group.

Ms Ballantyne added: “Around about a year ago we saw some courtship behaviour between the pair.

“We don’t know whether it’s a male or female, but all we know; it’s definitely a water baby.

“It likes to be in the pool and is definitely very close to mum and likes to be around and about, very playful as well.”

Until keepers can get close enough to find out whether the latest addition is male or female, its name will have to wait.

But it’s hoped the public will get to have their say.