Seal Encounters: Are Seals Aggressive?

are seals aggressive

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Seals are wild marine animals that are carnivorous and feed on a diet of fish, squid, octopus, and more. Despite their cute appearance, they may be more dangerous than you think.

With a mouth full of sharp teeth, being on average between 10 – 20 feet long, and weighing roughly 900 pounds these animals certainly have the capability to be dangerous to humans.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the seal’s temperament and answer a question many of our readers ask. Are seals aggressive?

For the most part, no, seals are not aggressive toward humans. However, they can be territorial and will defend themselves if they feel threatened or provoked.

Are Seals Actually Aggressive?

Seals have a cute, cuddly appearance to them which makes them look sweet and innocent, and although they mostly are, it’s important not to forget that these are wild animals and need to be treated with respect.

Seals are usually peaceful and not aggressive animals, but they are certainly capable of becoming aggressive if they feel that they are in danger, especially when around their young pups.

They are curious animals that often swim right up to divers. If you do encounter a wild seal, providing you do not panic and allow the seal to make the advances, there is no need to panic.

There are some situations when seals may become aggressive, such as acts of self-defense, they will protect their pups fearlessly and will protect themselves when necessary.

Do Seals Attack Humans?

It is incredibly rare for a seal to attack a human, however, it certainly does happen, which is why these animals need to be treated with caution.

Leopard seals are one of the most dangerous species of seal to humans, they are large and aggressive to one another, and will even eat other seals.

There has even been a human fatality from this species of seal, where a researcher was snorkeling in Antarctic waters and viciously dragged beneath the icy waters and killed.

This type of incident is rare, even Leopard seals are not particularly interested in humans and are intelligent enough to know that humans are not on the menu.

Leopard seals are found in Antarctic waters, so for many of us that reside in the United States there is no need to worry about these seals as the chance of coming across one in the wild is slim.

Are Seals Dangerous To Swim With?

For the most part, almost all species of seal are relatively safe to be around in the water, the chances of being bitten or attacked by a seal are very low.

That said, they are wild animals that need to be treated with respect, and you should never go out of your way to approach wild seals, especially in the water.

The risk is that as these animals don’t have arms or legs that they use to feel and sense the world with, they use their mouths like toddlers in order to get a better understanding of their environment.

With a mouth full of sharp teeth, this can be quite dangerous as if a seal decides to check you out it may end up biting you.

Seals can harbor a number of different infections that can be transmitted through their bite, meaning if you are bitten you will need to be checked out for infections, such as ‘seal finger’.

If seal finger is left untreated, this can render appendages unusable, so it’s important to seek medical advice immediately if bitten as you will likely need antibiotics.

The good news is that a seal bite won’t kill you, they usually only bite as a warning to get you to back off and are not out to seriously harm humans.

What To Do If A Seal Approaches You

If you do find that a seal is approaching you, always allow them to make the first move. Sit back, remain quiet and let the seal take the lead.

Try to stay as calm as possible knowing that seal bites and attacks are incredibly rare, and they are likely just scoping you out and being curious.

Ensure you don’t make any sudden movement that could be seen as provocative to the seal, as this may provoke an aggressive response.

Remember that seals can be territorial, so do not come into their personal space, especially if they have young pups around them.

Seals have sharp claws and a set of sharp teeth too, so you don’t want to spook these animals and find yourself being clawed or bitten, as both can easily draw blood.

Once the seal has scoped you out, they will likely back off and become uninterested (no offense). They are well aware that we are not food, and that we are too predators, so will likely back off.

Final Thoughts

So, are seals aggressive? No, seals are usually not aggressive animals but they can be if provoked, spooked, or feel threatened.

Some species of seal are more aggressive and territorial than others, such as the Leopard seal. These species of seal are capable of killing humans, and they have done in the past.

It’s important not to approach seals in the wild, and if you do encounter them you should allow them to make the first moves, but always ensure you are out of harm’s way.

Seals have a mouth full of sharp teeth and claws, a bite from a seal can inflict a serious wound that could become infected.

The good news is that the chances of dying from a seal attack are incredibly slim, so try not to panic and enjoy being around these wonderful marine animals.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned a thing or two today about seals’ aggression.