Sealife Sealife

Sealife

Orkney's abundant sealife makes the islands a wildlife lover's paradise.

Porpoises, dolphins and whales are regularly seen around the coast, with basking shark sightings on the increase too.

Seals on the beach in Birsay

Seals on the beach in Birsay

Orcas off the island of Hoy in Orkney

Orcas off the island of Hoy in Orkney

An elusive otter making a rare appearance

An elusive otter making a rare appearance

Some of Orkney's Grey seals

Some of Orkney's Grey seals

A seal pup on the Orkney shore

A seal pup on the Orkney shore

Orkney's rockpools are perfect for exploring

Orkney's rockpools are perfect for exploring

A common seal hauled out in Orkney

A common seal hauled out in Orkney

Seals, or selkies as they're known locally, are everywhere and you're guaranteed to see some lounging on skerries at low tide or swimming near the shore. Selkies often feature in Orkney folk tales, which regularly involve them shedding their skins and taking human form.

On the shore, exploring the rockpools is an exciting activity for all ages - you'll find mussels, crabs, sea urchins, anenomes and starfish in the clear water, and limpets and barnacles clinging to the rocks.

Explore our rich sealife within each section below.