‘Tis the season … for ‘Christmas’ seals resting on Outer Banks’ beaches

A young seal taking a rest on Bodie Island easier this year. [National Park Service photo]

It’s that time of year again, when seals like take to a break on area beaches. And if you see a seal or any other marine mammal while your along the oceanfront, make sure to report it to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Seals, especially pups, often visit the Outer Banks during the winter months. More than two dozen were spotted along our beaches earlier this year.

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 ncstrandingpartners@gmail.com.

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This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.