Seal watching at Easter

Too Close For Comfort.

Please don’t do what the family in the photograph are doing!

Give seals a wide berth.  For your safety and to help the seals, keep your distance – we suggest you don’t go closer than 10 metres.

It’s Easter, holiday time and there are lots of seals on Norfolk’s beaches.  Many a holidaymaker will be chasing off to the coast to enjoy the seaside, and see the seals.  

At this time of year seals are going through the process of renewing the fur coats they rely on to keep them warm, and keep their inner fur dry.  

After a year in the salt water their coats are worn and less effective and they need to be replaced.  Unlike us they can’t order online or take a trip to the shops.  They have to grow a new one.

It takes six to eight weeks for the old fur to be replaced and hauling out of the cold sea onto the warmer beach, conserves body heat and gives them freedom to scratch, wriggle, and get rid of the old coat, as the new hairs grow.

These are adults, and if approaching dogs or people disturb them, they can go back into the sea, but in doing so lose the benefits of remaining dry.

Sadly, not all visitors treat the seals in a friendly manner, and Friends of Horsey Seals gets many emails from distressed visitors who see other members of the public behaving badly towards them. In some cases throwing a stick to encourage dogs to run among them, allowing dogs to chase or bite a seal, or even throwing stones at them.  We wonder why they do that, but can’t find a rational answer.

Enquirers ask why there are no wardens on duty to monitor the situation.  We hope some will be around over the Easter period to help and advise visitors, but all of them are volunteers and their prime concern is to look after seals when defenceless pups are on the beaches in the winter.  Thousands come to see them, and wardens help by guiding visitors to safe viewing areas on the dunes where they can see everything that’s going on, without disturbing the seals. 

If you are at the coast over Easter – or at anytime – and come across seals on the beach, please admire and enjoy them responsibly.  Give them space. They have a right to be there too.

We thank you for your co-operation.

Friends of Horsey Seals.