Winter is quickly coming to a close on Delmarva, and we still have one item to tick off our winter bucket list – seeing a seal! This year there have been 5 seal sightings in the Ocean City area, and we’ve missed each one, but we have our fingers crossed that all that will change this Saturday as we head to Delaware to try our luck.
At 11:00am on Saturday, February 25th Cape Henlopen State Park will be hosting their free Seals on the Beach program. The program will feature a guided walk to the area where seals tend to rest. The guide will provide information on the seals, discuss how to view the seals safely and be on hand to answer questions. This event is family friendly, and simply requires pre-registration by calling 302-645-6852. While it is not guaranteed that the seals will be visiting Cape Henlopen during the walk, we are hoping for a sighting.
Most of the seals that we see in our area are young harbor seals or gray seals that stop along our beaches to rest. It is required by federal law to stay at least 50 yards (150 feet) away from seals. Unleashed dogs on the beaches can also be a threat to seals and your pet, as the bite of a seal can sometimes carry dangerous diseases. A harbor seal can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh up to 245 pounds. Gray seals are decidedly larger, reaching up to 10 feet long and weighing up to 900 pounds.
In Maryland, The Coastal Bays Program tracks seal activity. To report a sighting or get help for a seal that you believe to be in distress, call 1-800-628-9944. If you spot a seal in Delaware, you can report the sighting to MERR Institute by calling 302-228-5029.