Are Harbor Seals Bypassing the Outer Banks This Year?

A harbor seal rests on the beach by Jennette's Pier. Photo Darryl Law.
A harbor seal rests on the beach by Jennette’s Pier. Photo Darryl Law.

The weather finally turned cold today. Honestly with that northeast wind blowing at around 25, bitterly cold is properly how it could be described.

It’s been a while since it has been this cold on the Outer Banks. It certainly has saved on heating bills, but the truth is, it is January and it is supposed to be colder than it has been.

Interesting that something we normally see on local beaches seems remarkable by their absence this year. Typically, just about now, harbor seals will pop up out of the surf to rest on the sand for a bit.

They’re usually younger seal, not quite at full strength yet and not as adept at finding food as the full-grown seals.

From a distance, they certainly do look cute. Ok, they even look cute close up. But it is extremely important to leave them alone.

Perhaps most importantly, they are wild animals and they would probably view an approaching human as a threat. An adult Atlantic harbor seal weighs 180 to 200 pounds a perhaps a bit more. And they bite. That is one of their primary defensive weapons.

Because they live in the wild, they are prone to carrying disease and parasites—another good reason to not come in contact with them.

And then there is this—they are a protected species under federal law. Feeding them or in any way harassing them is a federal offense.

There is an OBX Stranding Response Team can be reached at 252-455-9654 to report a seal on the beach.

The beaches of the Outer Banks are a place of continual wonder. Wander along the sea for a week or two while staying at a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home.