They're fat and they're cute, and they do indeed bite.

Every now and then you read about young seal pups laying on the beach, and the folks that discover them and wonder if they should do anything about it.  The short answer is, no.

This time of year brings us past the "pupping season" along the coast of Maine, although very young seals are just learning the gig of being a seal, and tire quickly.  Some will take a break by laying on the rocks or sand of a local beach while their mother is out foraging for food.  This is a very normal occurrence.

As a matter of fact, it's not abnormal to see even full-grown seals on land as well.  Seals are semi-aquatic animals, which means they spend quite a bit of time on land.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reminds us that getting too close to seals will stress them out and may cause injury to both you and the seal.  Marine Mammals of Maine is one of the groups that will respond when they hear of a baby seal in distress, and they suggest staying at least 150 feet away from a seal.

By the way, seals bite, and a seal bite could cause a serious infection.

NOAA has a complete and very interesting PDF on seal watching, and you may want to check it out.

Now if you truly believe that you've discovered an injured seal, then there are now various ways to report it.  One is to the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, at 207-288-5644.  Another is the Maine Animal Lifeline at 207-773-7377.  Or, the Marine Mammals of Maine at 800-532-9551.

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Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

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