Seal pup Spanky loved to rest on large, craggy rocks along the shoreline. Late one afternoon, he stretched and yawned and fell deep into a hole in the rocks where he spent a long, cold night. He was rescued the next morning. Here you can see that Spanky is in trouble again - he is stuck in the rocks. With a helping hand from Seal Sitters, he was able to return to Puget Sound. Seal pups can get injured on the rocks or fall and become trapped if scared by people and dogs. Always stay back and observe quietly from a distance and call your local stranding network.
What color are seal pups?
Harbor seals have coats of many colors, but they almost always have spots. Their fur can be white with gray spots, white with brown spots, brown with white spots, or dark gray with white spots! And sometimes, a seal will hardly have any spots at all. If a newborn pup is born a bit too soon, he may have a long, wavy white coat which is usually shed before birth. This is called a lanugo coat. Seal pup Snickers was a dark brown pup with unique white markings. Seal Sitters can tell who's who by their distinct markings and follow a seal as they use different parks and beaches to rest.
Where do seals go at night?
Seals often will fish at night and rest on shore and warm up during the day. Sometimes, however, they will come ashore at night when there is less disturbance from people and dogs. High and low tides are also a factor. Seal pup Umbreon (shown as evening falls on Seattle's Elliott Bay) liked to mix it up - sometimes he came at sunrise and sometimes at sundown.
How soon can a pup swim?
Since females can give birth both on land and in the water, a pup is immediately able to swim. Usually, though, births happen on shore. The pup shown here was swimming within an hour of being born. When the pup got tired, he'd rest and ride piggyback on mom. Soon, the pup was zooming through the water like a little rocket.
What is "hauling out"?
When a seal comes out of the water onto shore it is called hauling out. A place where lots of seals gather on shore is called a haul out. Here you can see Leopard and his haul out tracks. Harbor seals are awkward on land and crawl like a caterpillar, so are vulnerable to off leash dogs and people who come too close.
What is a "lanugo" pup?
When a pup is in the mother's womb, he has a long and white fur coat. Usually that coat is shed before birth. Sometimes, though, a pup is born a little early and still has that white and wavy fur. It is called a lanugo coat.