The Outer Banks: A popular spot for seals

A harbor seal takes a nap in Nags Head on Thursday, March 7. [Kari Pugh photo]

A very sleepy harbor seal basked on the beach in Nags Head on Thursday afternoon, the second pup of the day to stop for a visit along the Outer Banks.

Another seal, a harp seal, came ashore for a rest in Corolla right around the same time.

Seals are common winter “tourists” along local beaches, with 22 taking a break on the Outer Banks since December. After leaving their mothers, young seals venture outside of northern territories in search of food, and often stop here to sun and sleep.

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 [email protected]

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About Kari Pugh 552 Articles
Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach her at [email protected]