Harp seal sleeping at Jones Beach, Long Island, New York
© Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography/Getty Image
Napping away New Year’s Day. New Year's Day
This harp seal is starting 2022 off right. While many of us may be napping today to recover from New Year’s Eve celebrations, this seal is napping because it can. All the noise and excitement were last night, just 20 miles away at New York City's ball drop, but it's quiet enough here at Long Island’s Jones Beach for our sleepy friend is recuperating in the sand. Harp seals are one of five types of seals that populate Jones Beach from November to May. They travel from as far away as the Canadian Arctic and northwestern Greenland to rest up and feed before making their way north again in the spring.
Harp seals can sleep in the water, too, with almost their entire body submerged, save for the snout. They tend to hang out in groups on land because it’s safest that way. Harp seals can live up to 35 years provided they aren’t hunted for their pelts as a newborn or gobbled up by a polar bear, orca, or great white shark as a juvenile or adult. Here, at Jones Beach State Park, they live out of harm’s way. They’re protected from hunters, while the sharks have migrated south for the winter. So, rest up, little friend. Here’s to a great 2022!