Stuart Little is a young Harp seal and the newest edition to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Earlier this month the pup was found on the beach at Ocean City and was taken to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to be treated for parasites and dehydration after it was seen eating sand.
According to the National Aquarium, when seals are dehydrated, they tend to eat ice. When there is no ice, they resort to eating things around them like sand or rocks. When baby seal, Stuart Little, was seen eating sand in Ocean City, it was a cause for concern since eating sand can be harmful to them. The aquarium is doing what it can to help the juvenile and has stated that Stuart Little now has “full-time pool access and has started eating about 10 pounds of fish a day.” He is 48 pounds and 43 inches long according to the aquarium. Harp seals can grow to be up to six feet tall and weigh from 260 to 300 lbs living in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans, according to NOAA Fisheries.
The seal’s name comes from E. B. White’s well-known story “Stuart Little,” a fitting name for a baby seal as E.B. White was known for his books meant for young children. This is not the first time the National Aquarium has had to step in to help a seal found along the east coast. According to CBS News, Eloise, a grey seal, was found on a beach in Delaware in mid-February and was also taken in by the aquarium. Amelia Bedelia, Pipi Longstocking, and Huckleberry Finn are among other seals also rescued by the aquarium, all also having names based off of characters in books.
The National Aquarium Animal Rescue organization, which rescued Stuart Little, is responsible for “responding to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles along the nearly 3,190 miles of Maryland coast” according to the aquarium’s official website. Many times the animals taken in by the rescue team are juveniles like Stuart Little. These juveniles are more susceptible to injuries and unfortunately death.
The National Aquarium is also asking that people do not approach seals as they could be frequent visitors around this time of year. If you do happen to encounter a marine animal in need of help, contact (410) 576-3880, the aquarium’s rescue hotline.