The rescue of a healthy grey seal pup from a Scarborough bathtub has prompted a cautionary appeal from animal care staff at the town’s Sea Life Sanctuary.
Displays curator Lyndsey Crawford and colleague Amy McFarlane were astonished to get a call out to a house in Seamer Road where they found a seal pup in the bathtub.
The pup, which is nearly a year old, had been spotted on the shoreline near Holbeck by a local beach-walker who assumed it was in trouble.
The walker threw a hoodie over the pup and managed to carry it to the promenade, where a local police officer collected it and took it home.
Ms Crawford said: “Both are to be commended for acting in what they believed to be the animal’s best interests. However in their rescue efforts were both dangerous and unnecessary.
“The seal proved to be in perfect health, and had probably just hauled out for a snooze, and it’s a minor miracle he didn’t give anyone a nasty bite.”
The bemused seal was fitted with an i.d. tag and returned to the wild at Burniston, where it raced into the waiting tide without a backward glance.
While applauding the best intentions of his would-be rescuers, Ms Crawford and her team are now urging anyone else coming across a seemingly stranded seal to do the following instead: stay as far away as possible while keeping the animal in view, try to keep other people and dogs well clear.
Then if the seal has not moved after an hour call either the RSPCA or the Sea Life Sanctuary on (01723) 373414 and an experienced team will respond as quickly as possible.
The Sea Life centre teams says “under no circumstances attempt to handle; seals are wild animals capable of inflicting serious injury”.
Last summer a Spalding man found a female common seal pup on the beach at Holbeach and drove her 40-minutes back home to Spalding, where he popped her in the bath and ran some cold water.
She was later rescued by staff from the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.