September to December is the breeding season for grey seals. Pups are born with a fluffy white coat and don’t enter the sea for the first two to three weeks.
Do not approach a seal or seal pup- Observe, don’t disturb.
Adult grey seals can weigh between 200 and 350 kilos. If under threat, they could knock over or crush anything, (even people) so do not approach or harass them. They can give a nasty bite, inflicting a wound that will need immediate medical treatment with antibiotics as they carry a lot of bacteria.
Sometimes pups are left alone on the beach while their mothers take to the sea to feed. If the mother is scared away by people surrounding her pup when she returns she is likely to abandon it, leaving it to starve to death.
What to do if you find a baby seal alone
If you find a seal pup that looks fit and healthy and shows no signs of distress, monitor it first from a safe distance for 24 hours.
Too many seal pups are taken into captivity because people mistakenly think they’ve been abandoned.
How to tell if a seal pup needs help
Baby seals can be separated from their mothers by storms and others may not feed properly for some reason and need help. An easy way to tell if they need help is:
- a healthy seal pup looks like a big, stuffed maggot without a neck
- an unhealthy seal pup looks thin (but not bony) and has a visible neck, like a dog.
If the mother does not return within 24 hours, or you think that the pup is sick or injured – please keep at a safe distance and contact the National RSPCA on 03001234999
Please remember seals are wild animals and you should always stay at least 10 metres away from them.