Londoner Captures 'Surreal' Seal Sighting in the Thames

A seal gliding along in a pristine-looking River Thames under May sunshine, less than five miles from busy areas like Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith, left a Londoner who witnessed the serene sight almost speechless.

Ben Hilton was taken aback as he watched the seal swimming underneath Kew Bridge, close to the city’s well-known Royal Botanic Gardens.

Hilton, who shared the footage to Facebook on May 7, told Storyful he was walking over the bridge when he saw the seal approach, adding, “It was quite surreal, I didn’t know what it was to start with.”

He said that he first thought it “might be a dog swimming,” before getting a closer look. In the footage, he can be heard also mistaking the seal for a large fish.

A September 2019 report in the Guardian noted that the Thames is home to both grey seals and harbor seals, while a study around that time had discovered that the river running through the British capital was home to 138 baby seals.

Still, sightings are rare enough that the Zoological Society of London has a web page dedicated to tracking when the mammals are spotted by the public. Credit: Ben Hilton via Storyful