Long Island is home to a diverse selection of creatures and native life. Many people have seen deer, wild turkey, squirrel, but in addition to these land animals Long Island also has some very interesting marine life. One of these interesting pinnipeds in particular is the seal. There are four species of seals commonly found out in Long Island waters during the Winter months and those are the harbor seal, hooded seal, gray seal and harp seal. The ones most commonly reported being spotted are the harbor seal and the gray seal. These seals in our surrounding waters are also members of the family Phocidae and considered true seals. True seals are characterized by the lack of an external ear flap.
The seals make their way to Long Island on their journey down from Maine to find warmer temperatures. Seals like to lay out basking on rocky patches, sand bars and remote beaches. They can weigh a couple hundred pounds each and their average dive time is 3 minutes but they can stay under water for up to a half hour!
Going seal watching on Long Island during a seal hike or seal cruise is a truly unique experience. You get to view an animal you normally don’t have the opportunity to see in their natural state and with an educated guide to answer all of your questions. It’ll be chilly since the best time to see them in New York begins in early Winter, but as long as you bundle up, wear proper shoes, bring along a pair of binoculars and abide by all of the safety precautions posted, you’ll be glad you didn’t miss out on this unique opportunity.
Seal Hike in Montauk – Montauk, NY
Saturday, November 22, Sunday, December 21, Saturday, January 3-4, Monday, January 19
$4 for adults & $3 children, free for children under 3
SoFo – Observing Seals: Nature Walk – Montauk, NY
Sunday, December 21
$7 for adults & $5 children, free for children 2 and under
Seal Cruise/Captain Lou – Freeport, NY
Every Saturday and Sunday from December 27 – April 12
$26 for adults, $22 for senior & child and $19 for group
American Princess Cruises Seal Watching – Breezy Point, NY
Every Saturday, Sunday and holiday (weather permitting)
$30 for adults, $25 for seniors, $20 for children and free for children under 5
CRESLI Seal Walk at Cupsogue Beach - Westhampton Beach, NY
Saturdays and Sundays
$5 per adult, $3 under 18 years old
Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation also offers seal walks.
Photo by Keith S. via Free Images