Three Behavioral Signs That Seals Are In Distress On NJ Beaches
If you live in close proximity to any one of New Jersey's various beach towns, then you're no stranger to either hearing about or witnessing seals on the beach during the cold months of the year.
It's not uncommon to see seals and other marine mammals beached this time of year. It is important, however, for you to know how to act should you come across one. Seals are one of the most common mammals you'll find on the beach during the off-season months. We've shared before advice from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine that recommends steering clear of any seals you come across during your winter beach strolls.
Of course, if you witness one in trouble, you're encouraged to reach out for help and not try to handle it on your own. That situation could escalate a lot more quickly than you realize.
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 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 and won't look away, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center says that's a pretty good indicator that the animal is aware of your presence and is watching closely to see what you do. 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. Take that as your cue to safely 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, apparently, 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.
Read even more about what to do when you spot a seal below: