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Seal pup found alone

Common seal pup in isolation at East Winch Wildlife Centre © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary

It’s not unusual to see a seal pup by itself. Seal mums leave their pups very early on in life, when they are weaned at 3 to 4 weeks old.


If you find a seal pup that looks fit and healthy and shows no signs of distress, monitor it first from a safe distance for 24 hours. Too many seal pups are taken into captivity because people mistakenly think they have been abandoned.


However, some pups can be separated from their mothers by storms and others may not feed properly for some reason and need help. A healthy pup looks like a big, stuffed maggot without a neck. A thin pup looks thin (but not bony) and has a visible neck, like a dog.


If the mother does not return within 24 hours, or you think that the pup is sick or injured – please keep a safe distance and call our 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or report here.


Caution!

  • Please do not touch the seal! They can give a nasty bite, which will become infected by the bacteria that live in a seal’s mouth.
     
  • Do not allow dogs or other animals to harass a seal – it could be scared back into the water and washed out to sea by strong currents.
     
  • Never put a seal pup back in the sea as it may get into difficulty.