Winter visitors: Seals popping up on beaches along the Outer Banks

A seal stopped for a rest in Kitty Hawk this week. [Photo by Outer Banks - Brindley Beach]

It’s that time of year! Several young seals have showed up for a rest this week on the beaches of Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Duck and Corolla. And while they may look injured, they’re usually fine. Just resting.

This seal rested in the dunes in Kitty Hawk for several days the week of Jan. 4. [Kari Pugh photo]
Seals are common winter “tourists” along local beaches, with at least a dozen 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.

Look who decided to visit one of our ocean front homes today.

Don’t worry, these seals often come up to rest and take a brief vacation during their winter travels.

Posted by Outer Banks – Brindley Beach on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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 846 Articles
Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at [email protected]