A seal has taken to wandering a New Zealand suburb, then crashing just wherever. Today it was found sleeping at a local car wash by employees turning up for the morning shift—and it wasn't the creature's first unusual stop-off point.
Laura Walters and Paul Eastern report that the seal was, for the second day, herded into a cage and released on a nearby beach.
It woke up around midday, and waved a flipper at the crowd of about 50 people who were watching. The increased activity prompted Doc staff to move people further away from the lost mammal.Uwash owner Kirit Makan said the seal was the most unusual customer he had encountered at his carwash. … DOC ranger Stefan Sebregts said the seal was the same male that was found wandering on a Papakura street on Monday.
It was likely he came ashore because he was sick of the stormy weather and needed a rest, Sebregts said.
Yesterday, the Papakura seal's first adventure ended in a the occupation of a local's driveway, after a day spent alarming and enchanting passers-by. The New Zealand Herald's Anna Leask reports on efforts to herd the seal back to safety.
When Danny Yong woke up this morning and found his house surrounded by police and firefighters - he naturally panicked.
"I thought I'd got myself into trouble somehow. Then my flatmates went outside and saw a seal in the driveway," he said.
Unbeknown to Mr Yong, the now-named Papakura Seal had settled into his Coles Cres driveway and was in no hurry to move.
Animal experts constructed a special enclosure to manage the seal, then coaxed it into the nearby estuary.
Here's a photo taken by Katrina Ward of the seal totally just hanging out at the park.
In this anonymously-posted photo, the seal is seen surprising motorists.
@KiwiSlytherin spotted the seal taking a nap on a riverbank near a local college.
There is already a twitter parody account, naturally.
"Hopefully will just jump back in and swim home," one emergency services source told reporters.
Victor Caire's "Pinnipède," a delightful homage to elephant seals, is the director's first 3D animated film.
"We've been visiting here for the last six years to say hello to the seal pups and we've never had this much interaction before," writes Jason Neilus, of a visit to the Farne Islands. "They were everywhere and all over us!!!! After a nightmare drive there with the worst traffic coupled with the imminent arrival of the St. Jude storm we didn't think this trip was going to be worth the effort but once again the seals made every second worthwhile." [Video Link via Arboath]
Steve Westnedge plays his saxophone for a Leopard Seal known as "Casey" as part of a study on the animal's reactions to different sounds at Sydney's Taronga Zoo August 19, 2013. Westnedge, who is also the zoo's elephant keeper, plays his saxophone next to the underwater viewing window to assist the study by researchers from the Australian Marine Mammal Research Centre. The seal occasionally responds with his own sounds, depending on the time of year, which are normally used when wanting to attract mates or establish territories.
Underwater, Antarctica's Weddell seals are fast-moving, graceful predators, catching and eating as much as 100 pounds of food per day. They dine on squids and fish and have been known to enjoy the occasional penguin or two.
On land, they are hilariously ineffectual blobs of jelly.
You can see that dichotomy in action in this great (and long) video made by Henry Kaiser in Antarctica. Following the adventures of a baby seal on the ice and under the water, the video is peaceful, meditative and reminds me a bit of the sort of old-school Sesame Street video that would build simple, kid-friendly narratives out of nature footage and music. (The music, by the way, was written and performed by Henry Kaiser, as well.)
Despite their poor performance in land-based locomotion, Weddell seals actually live on the ice, descending into the water to hunt and mate and swim around. They use natural holes in the ice to get from above to below and back, but they also work to maintain those holes and often use their teeth to chew at the edge of the ice and make a small hole larger. At about 13 minutes into the video, you can watch a seal doing just that — rubbing its head back and forth to enlarge an opening in the ice.
And why hang out on the ice, to begin with? Simple. In the water, seals are, themselves, potential dinners for larger creatures. On land, they have no natural predators at all and can safely bask in the sun, lying on their cute and chubby bellies for so long that their body heat hollows out divots in the ice.