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Harbor Seals on our Beaches…

Posted: January 24, 2023
“Get to know me: “I am a Harbor Seal, and we like to visit New Jersey in the winter. Even though I am only 30-50lbs, I am not a baby, I am a yearling that was born last spring. We only stay with our mothers for about one month, and then we are completely on our own. I am a carnivore with very sharp teeth to hunt live fish, so I don’t need you to try to feed me. I will bite you or your dog if you get too close! The demands that diving put on my body are physically exhausting. Before a dive, I expel most of the air in my lungs, relying on the oxygen stored in my blood and muscles instead. To conserve oxygen my body shunts blood away from most organs except my heart, lungs, and brain. My heart rate slows to only four to six beats per minute. I can stay underwater for about 30 minutes while I hunt. Afterwards, it is very important that I get lots of rest on land to let my body recover as the rest of my organs go back to work filtering my blood and replenishing my oxygen stores. Please don’t disturb me! Stay at least 150 feet away from me and let me rest! Too many people looking at me makes me nervous, so I might flee back into the ocean before my body is ready, which could make me sick or even cause me to drown because I’m exhausted. If you are concerned about me, please call the MMSC 24-hour hotline (609) 266-0538 and trained Stranding Technicians will check on me. Thank you!”
📷 Photo by MMSC Stranding Technician Mackenzie Peacock who was responding to the call for this animal, using a zoom lens on a professional camera. All MMSC photography is conducted with NOAA’s permission under a Stranding Agreement with NMFS under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.”