Letter: "Seal Excrement - Why It Matters Now"

from Karl Hoefer of Orleans

Seals, especially gray seals eat around 40 pounds of fish and other waterlife each day.  In a population of 10,000, this means millions of pounds per year. 

Imagine how much excrement is produced by this gorging behavior of seals.

Seals pollute beaches and water.  In Wellfleet, beaches have been shut down in the recent past due to bacteria from seal feces.

This summer nearly 1000 gray and harbor seals stranded themselves on New England beaches and died.

Most were infected with distemper and avian flu.  Distemper, which can be contracted by humans and their pets, is passed along via close proximity to fecal matter.

Basically, seals take large s**ts, and then proceed to roll around in it and over each other – passing along distemper and other diseases.

Humans and pets have been advised to stay 100 feet away from seals because of the potential bio -  hazards of seals’ nasal discharge and other fluids.

Besides their bowel movements, seals also play a great role in the life cycle of parasitic worms.  Seals eat infected fish, which leaves worms inside seal digestive systems.  Later worm eggs, like larvae, are excreted by seals into the water to be eaten by shrimp and other crustaceans.  Cod, herring, sole,  and others eat the shrimp and become infected.  Humans and pets again can be infected by eating raw fish with worms.   It’s a disgusting cycle for sure.

To summarize, seals are a serious health risk to dogs and other human pets, and even humans themselves. 

If we continue to let the seal population, or should I say “poop”ulation, grow indefinitely, we won’t even be able to visit our own beaches.  No more picturesque walks with Spot on your favorite beach.

Again, food (or feces) for thought the next time you call a seal “cute.”

Submitted by Karl Hoefer, Orleans, MA.


If the letter about seal excrement struck a chord  with you or you just find it disgusting, please come out to the second meeting of the Atlantic Human Conservancy on October 23rd at 6 pm.

Meeting will be held in the Craine room of Snow Library – 67 Main Street Orleans, MA 02653.

The group is off to a good start after the first meeting on October 9th, with a number of initiatives now pending.

Hope to see you there!

Karl Hoefer Orleans, MA

[email protected]

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.