Seals, Manatees, Albino Crabs, Snakeheads, Pacus – Strange Sea Creatures visit Maryland’s Shores

I’m always fascinated when sea creatures from far away places start appearing in Maryland. Are their compass or do they come here by choice? What draws them to the area? Seals make the visit to Ocean City during their annual migration. But some, like Chessie the manatee make it a point to visit the Chesapeake Bay. Why?

Chessie the manatee enjoys a lazy day in Middle River.

My interest in these misguided sea creatures started as a child when my mom would tell me the urban legend of small alligators that were brought home as Florida souvenirs only to grow in size until their frightened owners flushed them down the toilet. Flushed right into the warm summer waters of the bay to grow. And grow. And grow.

At least I knew these car-sized gators would die when the ice froze but during the summer I’d always keep an eye out when I was out swimming.

I wasn’t worried about drowning from cramps after jumping in the water right after eating but I was worried about those gators.

And what about sharks? Once I saw JAWS at the Golden Ring Mall Movies I knew those sharks from Ocean City could work there way right up into the bay and right into my leg.

snakehead

How would you like a snakehead to bite your dinger while you’re skinny-dipping?

Well, the reality is that gators and sharks never made it to Middle River.

Here’s a selection of the sea creatures who have made the visit to the Land of Pleasant Living:

Seals Beginning To Show Up On Ocean City, Assateague Beaches

By Shawn J. Soper (Maryland Coast Dispatch, 1/16/2014)

Seal-oc

A migrating seal visits the Ocean City beach. Photo by Chris Parypa

The first batch of migrating seals on the beaches in and around the resort were reported this week, providing an opportunity to remind curiosity seekers and photographers to observe and enjoy the annual visitors from a safe distance as they move through the area as part of their natural migration process.

National Aquarium Marine Animal Rescue Program Stranding Coordinator Jenn Dittmar confirmed this week there had been four sightings on the beaches in Ocean City since Monday, signaling the annual appearance of the popular seals each winter.

Continue reading at Maryland Coast Dispatch.

albino_crab

Albino Blue Crab

Baltimore Or Less’ gallery of misplaced sea creatures who have found their way to the Chesapeake Bay:

pacu2

The piranha-like Pacu!

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