If you happen to frequent any of New Jersey's various beach towns during the winter, then you're no stranger to either hearing about seals on the beach during the cold months.

It's not uncommon to see seals beached during this time of year. You should, however, know how to act should you come across one. Seals are one of the most common mammals you'll find beached during the off-season. Solid advice from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine that all should be keeping in mind recommends steering clear of any seals you come across during your winter beach strolls.

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If you come across one in trouble, reach out for help. DO NOT try to handle it on your own. That situation could escalate VERY quickly.

If, for whatever reason, you spot a seal and you're relatively close to them, there are a few things you need to be aware of to identify whether or not your presence is causing the animal any distress.

Does the seal seem to be on high alert?

If the seal sees you, sits up straight and seems to have locked eyes with you, that's a good indicator that the animal is aware of your presence and is observing your movements. They're deciding what they should do next.

Is the seal showing its teeth and/or flippers?

If a seal is flailing its flippers and showing you teeth, that's the equivalent of them beating their chests. Thats when you should SLOWLY back away.

Did the seal dart back into the water?

If upon seeing you, the seal rushes back into the ocean, then your presence definitely upset the animal. A seal rushing back into the water before it's ready can result in deadly consequences.

Again, if you encounter a seal on the beach during the winter months and aren't sure if it needs help or not, you're encouraged to call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center's hotline at (609) 266-0538.

Source: Facebook

Oh, by the way.... have you seen OUR seal??

This Gray Seal Calls Joe and Jahna "Mom" & "Dad"

As a result of spreading awareness of marine mammals and their welfare throughout South Jersey, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center has made Joe and Jahna "seal parents".

Gallery Credit: Jahna Michal

See A Stranded Seal? Experts Share Urgent Warning To New Jersey Pet Owners

Marine experts are speaking out to New Jersey residents and pet owners - do not approach a seal if you see one stranded on the beach.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Murray

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