Every year dogs are injured or even killed because their humans insist on walking on the Norfolk beaches during pupping season. This is really stupid….and even more stupid was the story I heard about a human who was trying to get his child to sit on a seal for a ‘selfie’! Grrrrr….So I decided to pop over to Horsey Gap, one of the largest colonies of seals in Norfolk, and speak to the Friends of Horsey Seals to find out how they can be viewed responsibly and safely.
We arrived at Horsey Gap and parked in the car park (charges apply). There were plenty of wardens and volunteers about to give advice and this is what we learned:-
The most important thing is not to walk on the beach at Horsey during the pupping season which is from November to the end of January.
To see the seals keep to the viewing areas and paths, do not cross over the rope or fencing.
Always be on a short lead, never off lead at any time.
Stay a good distance away from the seals.
Seals may be in the dunes so watch out for them and do not approach.
If seals are on the path leave them alone and inform one of the wardens.
Seals are wild animals and should not be approached.
Seals will attack, especially the males (bulls).
A seal bite can lead to a very nasty infection as seals have several types of bacteria in their mouths….. Humans and dogs should seek medical advice immediately if bitten. Dogs can also transfer diseases to the seals.
Seal pups are not toys, do not try to play with them, you will damage or even kill them.
Keep out of the water when seals are about.
If you are the kind of dog who gets over excited or has a strong chase instinct our advice is to stay at home and let the humans visit on their own. Barking, growling and lunging on the lead will stress and frighten the seals, and I’m sure you don’t want to cause that.
Remember seals are on other beaches in Norfolk so always be on the look out and if you see one ask your human to put you on the lead straight away.
Another way to see the seals is to take a boat trip from Moreston Quay to Blakeney point. Well behaved dogs are very welcome to come along. Our friend, Clive the Bassett Hound, regularly takes this trip and says it is great fun.
Visiting the seals is a wonderful experience but please follow the advice given by the wardens and volunteers!
Woofs Frodo Cavalier – Barking Bugle Editor