There are two species of seal found in the UK and both can be seen off the Sunderland coast. Grey seals are the larger of the two and have a flat, elongated nose and parallel nostrils. Common seals have a more rounded head and v-shaped nostrils.
There is a breeding colony of common seals just down the coast at Seal Sands on the mouth of the River Tees. Common seals are known to swim into rivers to hunt and have often been spotted upstream on the River Wear.