Seals are common marine mammals that can be found all over the world, from shallow tropical waters to the freezing Antarctic waters.
They are generally friendly animals that pose no threat to humans and often have a cute and cuddly persona that matches their appearance.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at seals’ and answer a question that often comes up when discussing these animals. Are seals dangerous?
No, for the most part, seals are not dangerous to humans and pose no threat to people. However, with many different species of seal, some can be more dangerous than others.
Are Seals Actually Dangerous?
In most cases, there is no need to be afraid or worried about seals attacking you as they are typically friendly animals.
They are surprisingly intelligent and well aware that we are not on their menu. Despite seals being carnivores, they feed on fish, squid, krill, and other marine animals.
That said, it’s still important to remember that seals are wild animals and if provoked or threatened they are certainly capable of attacking and leaving you with a nasty bite.
A bite from a seal is rarely fatal, but it can leave you with an infection and a nasty wound.
Do Seals Bite?
Although it’s incredibly rare to be bitten by a seal, it certainly can happen if the animal feels threatened, provoked, or intimidated.
Seals are typically non-aggressive animals that are shy and timid even in their natural habitats.
They have no interest in trying to bite humans but may do so out of self-defense if they feel threatened.
Seals that live in the wild may not be as friendly as the seals that you see in zoos or marine attractions.
Often these types of seals are being trained to interact with humans and given food as a reward for good behavior.
Wild seals do not have this level of interaction with humans and may become territorial or defensive if approached, whether that be on land or in the water.
Like many animals, seals are equipped with a mouth full of large, sharp teeth if bitten can leave a nasty injury that will likely need medical attention.
Are Seals Dangerous On Land?
Seals are semi-aquatic mammals that spend lots of time both in and out of the water. Their flippers are designed so that they are able to move across the land when required.
However, seals are not nearly as agile on land as they are in the water, and although they are generally safe animals, they are safer to be around on land than in the water.
This still doesn’t mean that they are safe to approach on land, just that they are unable to move as swiftly as they can in the water escaping from a seal is much more likely on land.
Unlike sea lions, seals move across the land on their stomachs by using their flippers.
It’s completely normal for seals to be on land, with them spending a large portion of the day on land sunbathing, resting, molting, or even giving birth.
It’s recommended to admire seals both on land and in the water from afar and ensure that you don’t get too close to these animals in the wild.
Which Seals Are Dangerous?
Although most seals are generally harmless to humans and pose little threat, there is one species of seal that has a checkered history with humans and is much more aggressive than other species.
Leopard seals are large, powerful, and aggressive seals that are armed with a mouthful of large teeth.
These seals have a varied diet and hunt seabirds, octopuses, squids, krill, sea snakes, and even penguins.
Leopard seals are incredibly aggressive and are notorious for ripping their prey to shreds before consuming it.
These seals will usually only attack when provoked, but just like many wild animals, there are some instances where these animals have gone rogue.
In 2003, a Leopard seal drowned a Marine Biologist by pulling her between 60 – 200 feet deep into the icy waters of Antarctica.
Whilst the reason remains unclear, it’s important to stay far away from this species of seal as they are not intimidated by humans and will attack without hesitation.
Should I Be Afraid Of Seals?
There is no need to be afraid of seals. They are gentle creatures that have no intention of causing harm to humans and will likely choose flight over a fight on most occasions.
Most species of seals are even known to be friendly towards humans, swimming up to divers to get a closer look which results in beautiful experiences that divers never forget.
So long as you respect the seal’s boundaries and admire these animals from a distance, there is very little chance of ever being attacked or bitten by a seal.
If you ever happen to find yourself in Antarctica or the sub-Arctic islands surrounding and come across a Leopard seal, do your best to avoid this animal at all costs.
This species of seal is aggressive and has been known for human fatalities so it’s best to avoid this seal altogether.
So, are seals dangerous? No, generally there is no need to be afraid of seals. They are non-aggressive animals that pose no threat to humans.
That said, it’s important to be aware of some species of seal that can be incredibly dangerous, such as the Leopard seal.
These are typically only found in Antarctica so the likelihood of ever coming across one is incredibly rare.
The species of seals that are common along the coastlines of the United States and the UK are generally safe for humans to be around.
Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned why seals are not dangerous and pose no threat to humans.
If you have enjoyed this post, consider sticking around and learning more about seals and the many other marine life species we discuss here.
Hi, I’m George – the founder of MarinePatch. I created this blog as marine wildlife has been my passion for many years. I’ve spent over a decade in the marine wildlife industry and spent years out in the field conducting research. In today’s modern world, an online blog is the best place for me to share my findings and reach as many people as possible to help educate and inspire others. Enjoy your time here and you’re welcome back anytime!