Seal Care at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium
Our only outdoor exhibit, the seal habitat includes an enclosed, 17,000 gallon pool that is the permanent home for seals that are unable to live in the wild.
Why We Have Seals
The Aquarium provides a home for seals that are unable to survive in the wild. The seals can live long and healthy lives in an aquarium setting where they get medical and dental care and where they do not have to catch their own food or worry about predators.
The seals are perhaps the Aquarium’s most popular residents: tens of thousand of visitors every year watch our seal training sessions and learn about seal biology. In the process, our visitors also learn how they should and should not interact with seals they encounter in the wild.
When seals are in residence, we usually feed them when we open in the morning and when we close in the afternoon. Feeding sessions are also training sessions during which we make sure the seals get enough exercise and we train them in behaviors that are important for their care. Most training sessions are open to the public.
Our harbor seals come with very different histories. Bubba, a 21-year-old male, was born at a marine park. He has lived most of his life with other seals at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island. Kitt, a female about 1 year old, was born in the wild, but taken into care after she was rescued following a terrible accident. Although she’s quite healthy now, she is blind.
At least twice daily, the seals have training sessions. These sessions include feeding, teaching and practicing behaviors that make them easier to handle and care for, and flat-out play time: just getting some exercise and stimulation. Their trainers will also take your questions. If training is not in session, you can still see Kitt and Bubba in the habitat, where they often play on their own or haul out to dry off and get some sun.
Our two prior residents, LuSeal and Bumper, both died unexpectedly in July 2017.
The seals at Woods Hole Science Aquarium are protected by federal law. Please follow all posted rules and respect our seal exhibit hours of operation while visiting the seal enclosure.