Beached Sandy Hook Seal Seems Fine

The seal ended up on the shores after a swim and fish hunt. What would you name him?


It was the end of January when nature blogger Joe Reynolds spotted a seal lounging around on the docks on the bay in the section of Middletown.

And it happened again Sunday, according to authorities. A healthy brown harbour seal beached itself on the shores of , apparently for a little rest. 

At about 1 p.m. Gateway National Recreation Area (Sandy Hook) Ranger reported that a 5-foot seal washed up on the ocean of the , near the visitor's center. 

After experts were called in, the mammal was found to be healthy and just taking a little rest in the sunshine, according to volunteers from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Brigantine, in an Asbury Park Press story

Reynolds said in January when he found a seal sunning itself on the Port Monmouth dock, that it is not uncommon to experience a seal sighting in the area, especially on the bay shores of the Raritan Bay in Middletown, of which Sandy Hook is a part.

The seals are called Phoca vitulina by marine biologists. They are the common seal, Reynolds said. They like to eat fish, and sometimes sea birds, and live to be about 25. Males can grow to a length of six feet and weigh as much as 300 pounds, he added.

So, it looks like this guy who beached himself on Sandy Hook is an adult.

While they tend to frequent northern Atlantic waters, lately the seals have been found frolicking and feeding in New York Habor, according to Wikipedia.

The typically brown, tan or grey seals have no ears (only holes in the sides of their heads), signature V-shaped nostrils and tend to return to the same “hang out” spot.

“The scene of this marine mammal is a wonderful reminder of lower New York bay’s connection to the ocean,” Reynolds had said in a mass email to friends of his sighting. “It (this one) was hauled out and resting, probably digesting a belly full of fish. What a sight to see right here, located in one of the most busy and bustling bays in the world.”

Reynolds said that the seal stuck around for most of the day on Tuesday of last week and disappeared with high tide by the next day, “in all likelihood foraging for fish again around the estuary.”

Reynolds hosts a blog on wildlife and nature sightings in and around lower NY, Sandy Hook and Raritan bays that you can visit at http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/.

In the meantime, if anyone caught some photos of the seal, please send them to us or upload them directly into this story.

And, while you're at it, come up with a name for our little visiting fisherman and friend. Use your immaginations and tell us what you'd call him in the comments section below.


LULU May 01, 2012 at 09:41 AM
Helen May 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Many years ago I named the first Seal in Jenkinson's Aquarium "Luseal". It was found stranded in the Point Pleasant Canal.


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