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Famous Animals: Hoover - The Talking Seal

Hoover was known as the "talking seal"! Learn all about his amazing ability!

Hoover became famous all around the world because he could imitate human language! Sadly, Hoover didn’t have a good start in life. As a baby seal, little Hoover was found completely abandoned and alone on a beach in Maine (USA) in 1971. But thankfully, his mournful calls were heard!

The Talking Seal

George and Alice Swallow discovered the little seal and took him home to nurse him back to health. But Hoover couldn’t even manage to eat the tastiest fish in the first few days. But when he started eating again, he was so hungry that he “hoovered” up one fish after the other (hence the name Hoover!).

Seal Seal (not Hoover) - Photo: Silke/


Hoover Mimicked Human Speech

George and Alice’s bathtub soon became too small - after all, it’s in a seal’s nature to dive and swim around. That’s why he ended up at the New England Aquarium at four months old. After a while, a keeper noticed Hoover’s unusual gift as he actually tried to impress female seals with human language!

Hoover Had an Accent

It was then that the scientists at the aquarium became very interested in the tubby little seal. Why could this seal talk? And why did Hoover have a strong New England accent? They had to know!

Visitors were overjoyed to see the cute new arrival and were always impressed when Hoover spoke like a human. With catchphrases like “hello there” and “get outta here!”, he was a sensation! No mammal before him was able to imitate human language as perfectly as him. And guess what dialect Hoover spoke? He spoke with the same accent as George and Alice, of course, as they were like his real parents and he wanted to “speak” their language.

Hoover died of old age at the age of 14. Sadly, his descendants weren’t as gifted with language as he was.

Seal Seal (not Hoover) - Photo: Silke/



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