The pups are adorable, are friendly and will approach humans, but touching a baby seal hurts the chances of it reuniting with its mother, Chandler said. He emphasized that people should feel free to take pictures from a distance, but to give the animal space and leave it alone.
Touching seal pups in selfies can cause them to slowly starve to death, animal group warns. Touching and getting an up-close look at seal pups isn't just illegal — it can be deadly.
The animals are so cute, and appear so helpless, that people just feel compelled to try to help them, McGuire said. But if they do, there's a good chance the young animal, cut off from its mother, will die. Picking the animals up drastically increases the chance that the animal will not survive, she said.
Seal pups are commonly left on their own for several days while their mothers are feeding at sea. Such pups should be left alone unless injured. The mother may be nearby and your presence may cause it to abandon the pup. Around November each year, pups are weaned and have to learn to feed on their own.
Most seals are not known to be aggressive. Seal attacks on humans are rare, but they have happened. Seals, especially in their natural habitat, are often timid and would not initiate an attack out of anywhere. Yet, when they feel threatened or provoked, they can bite as an act of self-defense.
Seal pups bite!
They can give a nasty bite, which will become infected by the bacteria that live in a seal's mouth.
Cape fur seals can recognize their pup's calls just two hours after birth Cape fur seals can recognize their pup's cry just two hours after birth, remarkably earlier than other mammals. For context, only about 40% of women can identify their baby's cry 24 hours after birth.
Always let seals make the first move – let them approach you. Sit back, wait quietly and observe. Aim to stay calm and move slowly to avoid spooking the seals and provoking a startled response. Be confident that seals are usually gentle creatures unless they feel threatened.
Like Whales, Turtles and Penguins, Seals spend most of their time in the sea, but cannot breathe underwater like fish.
Adult harbor seals can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes, but dives usually last only about three minutes. A two-day-old harbor seal pup can stay submerged for up to two minutes. All marine mammals have special physiological adaptations for diving.
It is against the law to touch, feed, or otherwise harass seals.
Although rare, there are a few records of adult leopard seals attacking humans. There has also been one fatality, when a researcher was snorkelling in Antarctic waters and was killed by a leopard seal.
MALNUTRITION IN YOUNG ANIMALS
Young seals and sea lions often become stranded shortly after being weaned. Weaning occurs when the young animal no longer nurses from its mother. At that time the pup must catch fish on its own.
Under the EPBC Act all seals and sea lions occurring within Australian waters are listed as marine species ( EPBC Act 1999; section 248). It is an offence to kill, injure, take, trade, keep, or move any member of a listed marine species on Australian Government land or in Commonwealth waters without a permit.
Interestingly, it's not just the males who are guilty of this gruesome practice. Just last year, our cameramen witnessed a female Cape fur seal snatching a newborn pup from its mother's clutches, just seconds after birth.
Newborn harp seals have soft, white fur and are called whitecoats. Young seals of any species are also referred to as pups. Harp seals are pinnipeds, of which there are 33 species in the world, 18 of which belong to the Phocidae family (true seals).
Stephen Marsh, operations manager for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: “It must be quite a terrifying thing for a seal to see a dog running at it. “Seals are naturally very wary, and dogs can move very quickly when they see them.
Canines share a lot of similar characteristics with seals, for example, mainly because both the fluffy dogs and baby seals are considered Caniformes (which literally means "dog-like") and come from the same suborder of Carnivorans (unlike cats, which are Feliformes).
The dark skin colour is a result of an excess of a polymer called "melanin" in the pigmentation. A dark or "melanistic" strain of grey seals has long been present in the Scottish population, but occurrences elsewhere have been extremely rare until now.
Seals have an appealing, perhaps adorable presence and appearance. Like the Assateague ponies, one can't help but want to get closer and even touch or feed them. But such human contact does more harm than good. Like our cherished Assateague ponies, seals are large wild animals and can be extremely dangerous.
Seals carry several types of bacteria that can be harmful to humans. If you are ever in doubt by the behaviour of a seal it is always best to get out of the water. Non-threatening, calm, slow but confident body language is the key to a safe seal encounter.
Seals can become aggressive when approached or attacked by dogs (which is, unfortunately, a common problem as dogs are so popular!).
It is completely normal for seals to haul themselves out on the shore. Please leave them alone! Seals that are seen on the shore in New England—even young seals on their own—are not necessarily stranded or in need of help.
It's possible to see seal pups on beaches and it's a wonderful thing to behold, but you should keep your distance and respect that these are wild animals; they have teeth like a dog and can inflict a nasty bite (even the pups).