Butch the Harbor Seal Lives 25 Years in Lake Sammamish

For 25 years, a harbor seal named Butch lived in Lake Sammamish. First spotted in the lake in 1950, he was most likely abandoned by someone who tired of him as a pet.

Many people living along the Sammamish shores enjoyed Butch. Press notices started in November 1952 when Post-Intelligencer printer, John O’Riley, a Lake Sammamish resident, reported that Butch had set up residence on his waterfront. Butch had grown so friendly he frolicked with the family’s Cocker Spaniel, his small daughter, and other neighborhood dogs and children. However others did not. Fisheries officers were often called in to settle complaints. In December 1952 fishermen complained that the seal was eating all the fish. As Butch grew older, he reportedly became more aggressive; Washington State Department of Game came in and captured Butch with nets in 1975.

“At the time of his death, it was noted that Butch lived past his normal life span, likely due to his lack of natural enemies and an abundance of caring friends in the lake community,” wrote Kate Navarra Thibodeau, in her book “Lake Sammamish Through Time.”


Source: Issaquah History Museums resource, a book “Lake Sammamish Through Time” by Kate Navarra Thibodeau, pages 72, 73.

Communications Team