Canadian Ice Seals Are Vacationing on the North and South Shores

Follow these tips from the New England Aquarium if you see one.

Photo by Diane Treadwell

A seal in Marblehead. Photo by Diane Treadwell

Ice seals are swimming down from Nova Scotia and turning up on the Massachusetts coastline. They are, by all accounts, adorable.

The New England Aquarium’s marine animal rescue staff and volunteers responded to reports of juvenile harp seals in Marblehead, Nahant, and Norwell last week. The seals typically weigh 40-70 pounds and measure three to four feet in length, with spotted coats of creamy white and brown.

“Each winter over the last two decades, young harp seals and the occasional adult hooded seal take a mid-winter vacation from the ice fields of the Canadian Maritime Provinces and bask in the relative balminess of a New England winter,” the Aquarium said in a release.

The Aquarium added it’s not uncommon for these seal to spend a few days out of the water in the same location.

Photo by Diane Treadwell

Photo by Diane Treadwell

But as adorable as they are, there are a few rules to keep in mind. Federal law requires you keep a distance of at least 50 feet from the seals, as too much human contact could interrupt their rest, causing stress and a possible decline in their health.

“They’re cute, furry, and have a face that could melt your heart, but don’t get too close,” the Aquarium said. “When most people see a seal, they are excited, curious and concerned, which is great. Unfortunately, people sometimes do things which, although well-intentioned, can actually do more harm than good. Share the shore with seals to keep everyone safe and to create a lifelong memory.”

The Aquarium also recommends keeping your dogs leashed while walking along the coast, as they’re often the first to find the seals. If you spot one that’s visibly injured or ill, call the Aquarium’s marine animal hotline at (617)-973-5247.