Meet Rudder, the Virginia Aquarium’s Newest Seal

Hampton Roads voted and we decided that the name for this juvenile male harbor seal should be…

(Drum roll please)


“We are so thankful to the public for helping us choose his name,” said Rachel Metz, Director of Live Exhibits for the Virginia Aquarium. “The staff and I are particularly pleased with the selection of the name Rudder because it speaks to the reason we have him and gives us an opportunity to share the story of his rescue every time we tell his name.”

And what a rescue he had. He was found stranded in Deal, New Jersey on Valentine’s Day. Because of the injuries on his back and neck, it looks like he was a victim of a shark attack or maybe a boat strike. Those injuries and partial paralysis in his hind flippers meant he could not be released back into the wild. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey rehabilitated the seal and the Virginia Aquarium staff transported him to the Virginia Aquarium in September.

Actually, Hampton Roads voted for “Pepper” as the top name for the seal, but that name was vetoed. It’s too much like his Virginia Aquarium Harbor Seal brother named Piper.

Other great submissions included: Pickles, Bruce (in reference to the New Jersey-born Springsteen), Navy, Frankie, and Sam.

The Virginia Aquarium looks forward to hosting a “Welcome Home Party” for Rudder as soon as he is comfortable with other resident harbor seals Peter, Piper, Hector, and Norton.