Spring’s approaching but some winter visitors to the Outer Banks are still popping up on beach.
On Friday, a harbor seal took a quick break from the ocean near Ramp 44 at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Seals are common winter “tourists” along local beaches, with at least a dozen taking a break on the Outer Banks since December. After leaving their mothers, young seals venture outside of northern territories in search of food, and often stop here to sun and sleep.
The OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network offers the following tips for those who see a resting seal:
- Give the seal a wide berth of 150 feet or more and keep pets on leashes.
- Do not walk between a resting seal and its access to water. If you have to walk around a seal, walk on the land side and avoid blocking its exit route.
- Be quiet around a resting seal! Loud or sudden noises will disturb them.
- Never approach closely. Wild seals can carry diseases and parasites that you or your pet could get if bitten.
- Kayaks, canoes and boats please avoid close approaches to haul-out sites. Engineless crafts have been shown to elicit an alarm response, causing a resting seal to rapidly enter the water.
- Never offer food to a wild seal. Seals are wild animals and feeding them not only allows them to lose their natural fear of humans, but is also illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and could carry a hefty fine.
- Report seal sightings to the OBX Stranding Response Team at 252-455-9654.
Have photos of a seal you sighted on our beaches? Share with the MMSN, adding date, location and your name. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org