Why Are Seals So Friendly? (9 Reasons Why)

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Ava Medina

Ava Medina has 20 years of experience as a veterinarian assistant and is utterly obsessed with rabbits and cats. Ava also volunteers at animal shelters in her spare time.

Seals are one of the most beloved creatures on the planet, and people are fond of them for their cuteness and intelligence. Beyond this, they are also very friendly and you may wonder why this is true.

Fortunately, we know more about animal’s behavior now than ever before. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons why seals are so friendly.

Why Are Seals So Friendly?

1. Seals Have Been Raised In Captivity

Most of the time, when people interact with seals they are doing so in one of the following places:

  • A zoo
  • An aquarium
  • A circus
  • A wildlife center

Seals who live in these environments are often raised in captivity. This means that they have been around humans since birth and are more inclined to be friendly.

This is in contrast with wild seals who do not have exposure to humans. These seals are not friendly, and can even be aggressive if they are approached.

2. Seals Are Accustomed To Specific Humans

Seals often do performances with their trainers, and people may remark at their friendly behavior when they interact with this person.

This friendliness toward their trainer is because they are accustomed to interacting with this person. They know that they will receive positive reinforcement and food from their trainer.

Most of the time, audience members do not directly interact with the seals so they do not know how friendly or unfriendly they are with strangers.

3. Seals Are Expecting Food

Another reason why seals might be friendly is because they know their interactions with humans usually lead to food. Seals often receive meals and treats from humans.

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In the wild, seals who have had exposure to humans, especially tourists, may flock around boats or other signs of human activity because they are excited about food.

This might seem like a selfish reason, but many animals are highly food-motivated, including dogs. After all, everyone needs to eat!

4. Seals Are Curious

Seals are very inquisitive creatures, and they always want to know what is happening in the world around them. A seal that appears friendly might just be curious.

This often happens with wild seals who will approach boats or humans because they want to know what is happening.

They are investigating if you have food or if you could be a potential danger.

In the past, seals’ curiosity has gotten the better of them, and has made them an easier target for seal hunters as they are more likely to approach the hunters.

However, their curiosity has also improved their survival chances over the years as it has made them more adaptable and understanding of their surroundings.

5. Seals Are Very Intelligent

Seals Are Very Intelligent

Similar to the above reason, seals may also seem friendly because they are so intelligent. They can recognize that humans are a source of food or not dangerous.

If a seal is getting close to you, he wants to know more about you. These intelligent creatures may also recognize humans they have seen before and know that they are not in danger.

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6. Seals Do Not See Humans As Prey

Additionally, seals may know that humans are not useful from a prey standpoint. Because of their high intelligence levels, they can see that humans are too large to eat.

Humans may then take on an almost neutral view for seals, but if they know that you have food or have seen you before, this neutral view can be transposed into friendliness.

7. Seals Are So Cute

With their big eyes and dog-like faces, seals are absolutely adorable. While cuteness does not equal friendliness, many people may mistake it as such.

If a seal is approaching you and appears cute, you are more likely to think it is friendly than if a not cute animal approaches you.

For this reason, we can attribute some of a seal’s friendliness to the human psychological bias that makes us prefer cute creatures.

8. Seals Are Bored

Seals are both intelligent and highly active, and this combination means that they get bored very easily, especially if they live in captivity and do not have proper stimulation.

In this situation, a seal would see a human as a potential source of entertainment. Even if you do not have food, you are at least something to investigate and provide mental stimulus.

Ethical zoos and aquariums take measures to make sure their seals have the proper resources to not get bored. This often includes the following:

  • Toys
  • Other seals
  • Places to explore in their habitat

When one or more of these things are missing from the equation, a seal may get very bored and be more disposed to interact with any human they see.

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9. Seals Are A Social Species

Seals are a fundamentally social species, which means they like to interact with other seals and are not usually found by themselves.

Although they are usually social with other seals, this behavior can sometimes extend to humans as well, especially if they live in an environment where humans are often nearby.

Some zookeepers report that seals who are by themselves are more friendly towards humans as they wish for companionship from almost any species.

This is another reason why it is so important for seals to have others of their species to socialize with when they are kept in captivity.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why dolphins are so friendly, why crows follow you, and why ants are attracted to you.


Seals are amazing creatures, and part of their appeal is their apparent good nature towards all, which is usually labeled as friendliness. Sometimes seals even seem friendly to humans.

Although they are undeniably cute, keep in mind that a seal is still a wild animal. They may seem friendly, but you should give them a wide berth unless you are a trained expert.


  • Ava Medina

    Ava Medina has 20 years of experience as a veterinarian assistant and is utterly obsessed with rabbits and cats. Ava also volunteers at animal shelters in her spare time.

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