(WWLP) – We are in the time of the year when seal pups are born off the coast of New England, and while they can certainly be cute, you must resist any impulse you might have to take a selfie with a seal if you find one on the beach. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning that trying to take a picture with a seal can be dangerous for both you and the animal.
Seals have very powerful jaws, and if you get too close, they can act unpredictably because they feel threatened.
NOAA says that seal pups may be left alone on the beach for up to 24 hours at a time while mother seals eat. If the seal’s mother sees a person near her pup, she may believe the area to be unsafe, and could abandon him or her.
They advise that you keep a distance of about 150 feet between yourself and any seal that you may encounter.
If you see a seal or another animal that you think may be in trouble, call the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional 24-hour hotline at (866) 755-NOAA. If you see a marine mammal that is being harassed, call NOAA’s law enforcement section at (800) 853-1964.