Shades of Gray (Seal)

It’s been a busy few weeks for us here at the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center.  During the month of March, we received 8 gray seal weanlings, plus one today, April Fool’s Day giving us a total of 9 gray seals – and that’s no joke.  It seems like a large number of gray seals, but we are seeing roughly the same number in our hospital as last year.

New Gray Seal at MARC - Peeps - Arrived on Saturday before Easter

Most of these young animals are arriving to us via our friends at Marine Mammals of Maine and New England Aquarium, but fellow stranding agencies along the east coast are also seeing plenty of gray seals this time of year.  Primarily, our newest patients are being affected with some minor respiratory infections, heavy parasite loads (pretty normal for seals) and dehydration.  These issues can be life-threatening for young animals, but with good observations on the beaches and early treatment once they are in the hospital, we have a good chance at returning the majority of these guys back to the wild.  It’s amazing the huge impact nutrition, antibiotics, and fluids make on these little guys.

One fun fact about gray seals is that the animals’ gender can typically be determined by looking at their coat color.  Males are usually dark with light spots, while females are light with dark spots.  Check out the photos below.

Male Gray Seal - Cadbury - arrived Easter Sunday - notice the dark coat and light spots

This female gray - "Smartie" - arrived on 3/23/13. One eye is ruptured (Left), the other has severe infection (Right) and is being treated with eye medications. She loves swimming in the pool and diving to the bottom for fish. Notice her light coat with dark spots?

We’ll keep you posted on their progress.  If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and see them swimming in their pools.

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