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Page 16 - Breeding Behaviour of the Grey Seal off the Coast of Cape Breton

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1972/10/31 (1352 reads)
 

most of the nursing activity occurred at or close to high tide, and since that is the time there are most adults on the beach, the nursing was often interrupted by the movement of other adults in the colony. During heavy storms, the cows may forego the trip to the sea and perhaps merely descend to the water's edge. Nurs? ing, ho'vever, will take place at about the same tirae as if she had done so. And though pups may nurse briefly at other times, the most prolonged nursing appears to take place on the cow's return from the sea. The closeness of the relationship between a cow and her pup varied considerably. Most of the cows merely attended to the basic needs of the pup, such as nursing him and warding off other adults. One cow, Fl, however, exhibited a much greater interest in her pup than was observed in the other cows. When they were not sleep? ing, or when he was not being nursed, she played with him much as a cat plays with her kitten. She would give him a gentle nip on the abdomen as he lay on his back or on his side, while he would attempt to strike her with his forefUppers. In this little game, she vvas obviously trying to give him a nip without receiving a swipe from his flipper, while he, in turn, tried to ward her off before she could get a chance to nip hira on the abdomen. At other times he would move away from her, pause, and look back over his shoulder toiirards her as if trying to pro? voke her into folloi''ing him. By and large, the cows on Green Island ignored each other and no fighting was ob? served, in contrast to the situation on the island of Shillay in the southern Outer Hebrides, where, possibly as a result of overcrowding, conflicts between cows were not uncommon. On the Green Island, as a cow on her way to or from the sea passed close to another cow with her pup, the latter displayed her displea? sure by making gaping motions towards the intruder. The transient cow seemed to ignore these demonstrations of hostility and continued on her way. Social Relations between Bulls and Cows We do not know if any attempts are made on the part of the bull to lure cows into his domain. Observations seem to indicate that some bulls do make an effort to keep the cows from wandering out of their territories. This certainly appeared to be the case with bull A. He was constantly on the alert and if a cow moved any substantial distance from her accustomed resting spot, he moved in her direction. He also frequently met cows as they beached after a period at sea, and he some? times followed them as they descended the beach on their way to the water. He ex? hibited obvious concern whenever a cow moved tox-irards the rocky ridge that marked the boundary between his territory and that of bull B. Whenever a cow mounted the ridge, the bull hastened in her direction, whereupon she quickly returned to VOGUE FURNISHINGS LTD. 267 Charlotte Street Sydney "The Business Service Built" When traveling the Cabot Trail stop in at Gaelic College Craft Centre for the finest collection of tartans in the Atlantic Provinces, We custom make all clothing in 3''our favorite clan or district tartan. Gaelic College Craft Centre South Gut, St, Ann's Victoria Cotmty, Cape Breton COOK'S CHICK HATCHERY Box 731 59 Queen Street, Truro, N.S. Welcome to Cape Breton's Magazine in our 50th year in the Garage Business BETHUNE'S Baddeck Excellent Accomodations rbe MARkLANt) DINGWALL, VICTORIA COUNTY, N.S. ?? Phone: Dli)gwall 48 Mrs. Chester McEvoy, Manager HIGHLAND HEART CANTEEN Dingwall Open all year • Everyday needs IHEMIESIOHELID BADDECK, 11.5. Cape Breton's Magazine/l6
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