Sunday, April 14, 2024

Wild seals find Virginia coast an ideal place to rest

seal strandings
The Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response Team receives dozens of call every year about seals. (Courtesy The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center)

For humans, winter may not seem like the best time to go to the beach; but for a seal it’s ideal.

Each winter, seals visit the Virginia coastline to rest on the sand and rocky outcroppings, according to a Virginia Aquarium news release.

It can be fun to watch the seals enjoying the sand and surf, but the aquarium is urging people to keep their distance from the animals. Seals are known to bite people and animals when they feel threatened.

The aquarium is also asking people not to feed the seals. The seals need to maintain their hunting instincts, and feeding them can make them associate people with food, the release states.

If their safety and yours isn’t enough to curb your enthusiasm for petting a seal, remember, it’s illegal to approach or harass them in the wild.

If you see a hauled out seal, call the Virginia Aquarium’s Standing Response Team at 757-385-7575. The team will assess the animal’s health and use the information to keep track of the seal population.

This story was published in partnership with WYDaily’s sister publication,

Joan Quigley
Joan Quigley
Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post,, and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.

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