Found a seal pup alone

It's not unusual to see a seal pup by itself. Seal mums leave their pups very early on in life, when they're weaned at three to four weeks old. Here's how to tell if a seal needs your help.

What to do if you find a baby seal alone

Too many seal pups are taken into captivity because people mistakenly think they've been abandoned.

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.

How to tell if a seal pup needs help

Baby seals can be separated from their mothers by storms, and others may not feed properly for some reason and need help. An easy way to tell if they need help is: 

  • A healthy seal pup looks like a big, stuffed maggot without a neck
  • An unhealthy seal pup looks thin (but not bony) and has a visible neck, like a dog

If the mother doesn't return within 24 hours, or you think that the pup is sick or injured, please keep at a safe distance and contact us.

Seal pups bite!

Three reasons to keep away from seals:

  • They can give a nasty bite, which will become infected by the bacteria that live in a seal's mouth. 
  • Don't 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.
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Young grey seal in outside pool © RSPCA