A New Year often means a new start for lots of us who use the date to start searching for a new home.
And one little seal decided to get a headstart and scout out a new home just before the crowds, on New Year’s Eve, but found himself in a bit of a pickle when he ended up in a garden - 2km from the sea!
A woman was at her holiday home in Blakeney, Norfolk, when she spotted the grey seal lying in the garden, amongst some trees and shrubs.
RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Naemi Kilbey said: “The seal had managed to make his way into the garden, just off a coastal road, through the fence.
“The homeowner spotted him late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve and, despite being well and truly lost, he luckily didn’t have any obvious injuries or illness.
“I managed to get to the seal on New Year’s Day and thankfully he was in very good condition and didn’t need any further treatment so we loaded him up in the van and took him straight down to the beach at Blakeney to release him.
“It was so lovely to start the new year watching him swim back out to sea where he belongs. Hopefully, he’ll find the new home he was looking for somewhere that’s a little more seal-friendly!”
RSPCA officers believe the seal had swam inland from the sea along the River Glaven, just a few hundred metres from the garden where he was found.
“It’s not uncommon for seals to venture up rivers away from the sea looking for food and they normally manage to find their way back,” ACO Kilbey added.
“But it looks like this guy’s internal navigation system got a bit frazzled and he ended up a little lost! The lady certainly had a shock when she spotted him lazing around in her shrubbery!”
The RSPCA advises members of the public to keep a distance from any seals on land and not to interfere unless necessary.
It’s not unusual for seal pups to be left alone for short periods of time so if you spot a youngster who looks fit and healthy, it is best to monitor him for 24 hours to ensure a parent returns. If the mother doesn’t return within 24 hours or you think the pup is sick or injured, please call the RSPCA’s emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
Similarly, if you spot an adult seal which looks sick or injured, or is stranded a long way from water, please keep a safe distance and contact the RSPCA. Please keep other animals, such as pet dogs, away from the animal, and never return the seal to the water yourself.
To support the charity’s work, please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).