Things to do
Seals and porpoises

Seals and porpoises in Zeeland

Seals and porpoises – in Zeeland they’re at home in the wild. They enjoy the splendid Zeeuwse nature. The clean waters. And, to be sure, the space and the quiet. It’s fantastic to see these creatures. Sometimes close up. Can you tell the difference between seals and porpoises? Find out here how you can recognise them and where you can watch them.

How to recognise seals

Seals seem to have an ideal life. Lazing nicely on the beach. Lapping up the sun. Popping into the sea now and then for a portion of fish. You’ll find them all over the place. In Zeeland there are two types of seal. The normal, and the grey ones. What are their distinctive signs? The normal seal has dark markings on its fur, which is grey, dark brown or black. They have a small head, especially when compared with the rest of their body. The normal (common) seal is the smallest. The males will grow no more than two metres long. The other type, the grey ones, can grow longer, sometimes up to three metres! You can recognise them through their straight blunt nose and separate nostrils. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Porpoises, the Dutch dolphins

Porpoises glide through the water with a sublime elegance. To see them is an experience that makes your holiday unforgettable. Of the whale-like mammals along the Dutch coast, the porpoise is the most frequently seen. Porpoises are often seen as the Dutch dolphins. That is not surprising, because the dolphin and the porpoise are related. The difference between the dolphin and the porpoise? The porpoise is a lot smaller and has a blunter snout.


Spotting seals and porpoises

Would you like to see some seals and porpoises with your own eyes? Yes, you can! The majority of seals in the Voordelta part of the North Sea coastal zone of the Netherlands. But you can also see seals in het Grevelingenmeer lake, in the Westerschelde estuary, and in Oosterschelde national park. One spot is the Roggenplaat in the Oosterschelde estuary. And from the lookout post on the Plompe Toren on Schouwen-Duiveland you have a good chance of spotting some. In the Westerschelde estuary, you sometimes see seals on the Hooge Platen near Breskens. Porpoises you can watch from the shore. One good spot is at the harbour entrance of Zierikzee, where there’s a listening post for hearing their underwater sounds. Several dozen porpoises live in the Oosterschelde and at springtime they bear their calves.

Go on a seal safari!

You know, you can watch seals and porpoises from out on the water. On a Seals safari on the Oosterschelde estuary you can see them in their natural environment without disturbing them. Safari boats depart regularly from Zierikzee, Sint-Annaland, Scherpenisse and Yerseke. What other options are there for a cool boat trip? On the Grevelingen lake you can take an RIB-safari on a (smaller) rigid inflatable (power) boat as shown in the picture. That will do you proud! Remember to take your camera.