Felixstowe: Warning to steer clear of sunbathing seals

The seal which has come ashore at Landguard, Felixstowe, two days running to sunbathe - experts are

The seal which has come ashore at Landguard, Felixstowe, two days running to sunbathe - experts are reminding people it is a wild animal and urging them to stay away from it. - Credit: Archant

BEACH walkers have been urged to stay away from any sunbathing seals they find on the shore – to avoid causing stress and danger to the animals.

Not all seals which arrive on beaches are injured or in need of any help at all.

However, the approach of walkers – and especially dogs – can cause them to become frightened and stressed, and they could attack if people try to touch them.

On Easter Monday, a young pup spent most of the day on the beach at Landguard, Felixstowe between the port viewing area and the Point.

Landguard ranger Kate Osborne stood guard for several hours to keep people away and protect the creature, which was in the lee of some rocks.

She said: “Seals come out of the water and lay on the beach and that is quite normal behaviour – they are just sunbathing and are perfectly happy. They can be quite lazy, and they go back when the tide turns.

“It is not unusual for them to stay on one side for long periods and it doesn’t mean they are hurt.

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“If they wave a flipper at you, they are not saying hello – it’s a sign of aggression and because they are stressed.”

People with dogs particularly should stay well away from the animals, especially as a curious dog getting too close could get bitten by the seal’s incredibly sharp teeth.

She said: “If the seal is injured then people should call the RSPCA and they will come and deal with it.”

Last month Cara Warrington, 18, went to the rescue of a grey seal pup with the help of her grandmother Catherine Wright and a beach walker and cut it free from fishing net and rope tangled around its neck, and treated its wounds with a saline solution.