Who are you going to believe: the oddsmakers in Vegas or Orange the harbor seal?
Orange, a 30-year-old harbor seal at The Maritime Aquarium, has made her Super Bowl XLVII pick and it is the San Francisco 49ers. (Vegas, however, has the Baltimore Ravens giving 4 points.)
Orange is trained to retrieve items placed into the exhibit by her handlers. This morning, she was given the choice of retrieving two footballs – one with a Ravens’ banner attached to it; the other with a 49ers’ banner.
Given two out of three tries to confirm her pick, Orange first retrieved the 49ers ball, then – to add drama – brought back the Ravens ball. On her third and final chance, she announced her choice by selecting the San Francisco ball.
“She’s a big fan of the 49ers’ pistol-formation offense,” said Vicki Sawyer, a member of the Aquarium’s seal team.
Orange was born in 1982. She was stranded in New England and rehabilitated at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. However, her Baltimore roots did not affect her pick because she moved to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium in 1991 – five years before the Ravens were created. (Orange lived in Chicago until 2005, when she came to The Maritime Aquarium.)
Weighing in at 165 pounds, she is half as big as Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and much closer on the scales to 49ers receiver Ted Ginn Jr.
Orange is one of seven harbor seals at The Maritime Aquarium. Their public feedings are offered at 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 & 3:45 p.m. daily. Friday’s Super Bowl selection was actually a fun variation on a daily behavior in which Orange retrieves and “recycles” an empty water bottle.