180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Oregon Coast Seal Likely Chomped on by Great
|Aquarium staff heave the seal corpse onto a stretcher
(Seaside, Oregon) – Early on Friday morning, another
dead harbor seal washed ashore in Seaside. Normally, this isn’t
anything particularly interesting or new for those in the Marine Mammal
Stranding Network on the north Oregon coast – which responds to
such incidents. But this time, an enormous, nearly two-foot hole in the
body set this deceased seal apart from the numerous others that wash up
periodically throughout the year.
Staff at the Seaside
Aquarium comprise the north coast portion of the stranding network.
They went out to pick up the creature around 2:30 p.m. and discovered
the gaping hole in its back, surmising it was probably the work of a great
|The seal was about four and a half feet long
seal was about four and a half feet long and a full-grown adult, probably
around six years old.
“It could have been an orca,” said Keith Chandler,
manager of the aquarium. But it’s more likely a shark. A killer
whale would likely mess the thing up a lot more, or eat the whole thing.”
Chandler said by looking at the size of the bite it had
to be something about the size of a great white. Although salmon sharks
are not known for eating mammals, and that aspect of their existence is
somewhat debated, he said he believed it still could be a salmon shark
that chomped on the seal. “Just because a lot of people don’t
think it’s likely they eat mammals, doesn’t mean it’s
true,” Chandler said. “But mainly, the reason I'm thinking
that is that there are more salmon sharks out there.”
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Some great whites do wander around the waters off Oregon,
but not too many, said Tiffany Boothe, with the aquarium.
|Boothe and aquarium staffer Jenny Maxwell
Both Boothe and Chandler believed it had to be a shark,
in spite of the unusual placement of the gap in the body. “They
often swim upside down, so they probably weren’t paying attention
when the shark came down on it,” Chandler said. “I’ve
never seen a hole that big in a seal.”
The pair drove a pickup truck out onto the beach to retrieve
the body, and instead of bagging it up immediately as they usually do,
they put it on a stretcher and hauled it away. They did this to put on
a bit of a show ‘n’ tell for other aquarium staff and some
members of the public, as the truck sat in a parking lot behind the building.
A representative from Portland State University and the
headquarters of the stranding network would later pick it up to do a thorough
necropsy, and perhaps tell with better accuracy what kind of creature
killed the seal.
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Boothe - and some other employees who had previous training
or interest in biology – donned gloves and poked around the seal’s
corpse, examining the wound itself, lungs, the liver and even the contents
of its stomach.
|Boothe examining the creature
“The entire backbone is gone,” Booth said.
“It hasn’t been dead very long, either. You can tell by the
eyes still having some color and still being there.”
Boothe found a piece of coral in its stomach.
Meanwhile, a pair of mothers with very young children came
around to check it out, with the kids surprisingly captivated by the gruesome
Harbor seals are perhaps the most common mammal found
on the Oregon coast.
A great white shark stranded in Rockaway early this
summer, as did a spate of dead infant salmon sharks throughout the season.
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City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
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for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The
little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they
run across your feet
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports