A Jersey Shore marine mammal organization is warning the public to keep distance from the newest arrivals at area beaches: baby grey seals.
“These youngsters have just finished a marathon swim from New England, and they need to rest up before heading back to sea,” a Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) spokesperson says in a statement. “They don’t need any attention, food, or blankets.”
The Brigantine-based MMSC requests that the public stay 50 yards away from the seals, which look cute but will deliver a sharp bite if scared.
The marine mammals will warn anyone who gets too close with a “growl or snort,” or by “scratching with a flipper,” the release says, adding that the next defense is to bite “if they cannot get away fast enough.”
While the baby seals may look cold while shivering on the beach, that’s just part of their fur drying mechanism.
According to the release, seals have thick blubber layers under their skin, and they lay on their side and rock back and forth to get comfortable. The seals also put their front and rear flippers in the air to stretch and warm themselves.
“These animals are born in zero degree weather and they’re equipped for survival on their own,” the release says.
Anyone who spots a seal should call MMSC at 609-266-0538.