Something for those of you missing the sights and sounds of the sea. We had some fabulous walks on the coastal path just before lockdown – dog boss is still snoozing it all off! This young pup was a huge bonus. S/he has moulted and given the size is likely to be independent.
S/he was clearly enjoying the stream, snoozing with head in and out of the water and apparently enjoying the softness of the weed. It’s a good sheltered spot so this youngster is enjoying a good start in life. Apologies for the quality of the zoom but seals need more than 2 metres social distancing 🙂 .
We’ve posted a video of this seal on our Facebook page here if you’d like a quick virtual trip to a Pembrokeshire beach.
We’re at the tail end of this year’s pupping season but there are still pups on the mainland beaches as well as on the islands. This little one was causing consternation at Abercastle because people thought s/he was in trouble. Seal pups do sound rather pitiful when they call (it can sound like a human baby crying) and they’re not particularly mobile, particularly when they’re well fed and portly. This chap’s cries weren’t picked up by the phone over wind noise but s/he was doing a good job looking and sounding pathetic.
Some lovely people were even wondering about carrying him / her to the water. Please don’t. Pups need to rest out of the water. They can’t swim very well when they’re small and their lovely white coat gets waterlogged quickly. Pups can get into the water if they wish and their mothers will nag them to get in the water when necessary. They will generally wait for the tide to come in to make it easier. If a human were to put a pup in the water it would risk drowning, particularly in rough conditions.
If you see a pup not moving much and crying, that’s normal – it’s calling for a feed. The mother will be around somewhere and as long as we keep clear, she’ll feed it. Seals generally work around the tides, particularly on beaches. An adult seal isn’t likely to come a long way up a beach away from water (but they can). They know that they’re safest in the water so tend to stay in or near it.
Sadly some pups are abandoned by their mothers but the most common form of death is drowning. You will see lots of pathetic looking ‘baby seals’ around at the moment, crying for food. They just need space. That can be difficult when they choose to lie right next to the cast path but if we stay quiet, move slowly and don’t block the skyline they’ll stay relaxed and we won’t get in their way or that of their mother.
If you see a seal that is clearly injured, a pup with weeping infected eyes, or emaciated with no sign of a mother or putting on weight over a period of time, then it would be worth contacting the rescue services. The pups we see on beaches are usually the lucky ones because they’ve been born in a spot that is sheltered. Their job is to lie around and get fat. They do it rather well!