Wellfleet Harbor Seals Return for Halloween

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Wellfleet Harbor Seal on Halloween Afternoon

A powerful southwest wind blew 60 degree temperatures onto Outer Cape Cod on Halloween Saturday, enticing a young harbor seal to bask on deserted floating docks in the lee of Wellfleet’s town pier. 

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Birds Hunker on Floating Docks in Lee of Wellfleet Pier

Boats have largely abandoned the docks, hauled out for the long, hard winter ahead, leaving these man-made islands to shorebirds and seals.

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Seals Return to Wellfleet Harbor

With humans gone and flocks of birds to serve as “guard dogs,” shy young seals feel confident enough to return to Wellfleet Harbor, bask in the protected estuary and chow down for winter.

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Juvenile Harbor Seal on Wellfleet Dock

As beautiful and cuddly as seals may appear, remember that these are wild animals protected by federal laws and regulations.  They can be quite ferocious in defending themselves, their territory and their peace.  Do not disturb seals.  Enjoy them from a safe distance and use a telephoto lens for close-up photography.

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Harbor Seal Enjoys Cat Nap on Wellfleet Dock

What may at first seem to be a helpless animal in need of rescue is much more often simply a basking seal hauled out for some well earned R&R.  Injured and diseased marine mammals (seals, porpoises, dolphins, small whales) should be reported to the Cape Cod Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 508-743-9548.  Stranded sea turtles should be reported to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (508-349-2615).  They are highly trained and licensed to handle these emergency situations.

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Happy Halloween from Wellfleet Harbor


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