Two Adventurous Seals Hitch a Ride on a Surfboard in an Irish River

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: February 28, 2024
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Spotting a surfboard on an Irish river is unusual enough, but finding two seals on it has got to be a one-off! In this wholesome footage, we get a glimpse of two seals having the time of their lives with a new toy! It was apparently captured at Dungarvan, which is a coastal town and harbor in County Waterford, on the southeastern coast of Ireland. Take a look for yourselves.

Watch the Surfing Seals Now

Which Seal Species Are Found in Ireland?

Two species of seals frequent the shores around Ireland, namely the Atlantic grey seal and the common or harbor seal. The grey seal has an interesting scientific name – it is Halichoerus grypus which means hook-nosed sea pig! This explains why it can be distinguished from the common seal from its ‘Roman nose’ profile. They are also larger and whilst they are predominantly grey, they have patterns of darker blotches and spots which are unique to each seal. At one point, their numbers decreased in the area around Britain and Ireland to around 500 but now there are at least 120,000 of them making up 40 percent of the world’s population.

Where Do Common Seals Normally Live?

Common seals are widely across in the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Their range extends from the subtropics to the Arctic. They are a common sight on US and Canadian coasts. These seals are mainly along shorelines and in estuaries. You can spot them resting on sandbanks as well as on beaches, reefs, and protected tidal rocks.

They are highly adapted to living in water – their limbs have evolved into flippers, and their bodies are streamlined so they can move effortlessly through water. Seals can dive to depths of over 1,000 feet and hold their breath for 30 minutes. A combination of fur and a thick layer of blubber (subcutaneous fat) keeps them warm even in cold water. The downside is that this nutritious layer makes them attractive prey for polar bears and killer whales.

What Do They Normally Eat?

Harbor seal

Seals like to eat fish.

©RobsonAbbott/ via Getty Images

There are more than 30 different species of seals worldwide, but what they all have in common is that they love fish! This normally makes up the largest part of their diet. However, they can also eat squid, lobsters and octopuses. Some even catch insects or seabirds. Harbor seals catch ducks, and grey seals and even catch porpoises!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wirestock/ via Getty Images

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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