Felixstowe: RSPCA warns against touching seals washed up on the beach
- Credit: Matthew Usher
WILDLIFE experts have today warned people not to approach seals stranded on the shore – and said a teenager who helped save an injured one was lucky not to have been bitten.
Cara Warrington, 18, went to the grey seal pup’s rescue with the help of her grandmother Catherine Wright and a beach walker and cut it free from fishing net and rope tangled around its neck, and treated its wounds with saline solution.
But RSPCA officials say seals can give a nasty bite leading to seal finger virus, where tendons can be infected and fingers become solid.
RSPCA inspector Marc Niepold said the seal found at Landguard, Felixstowe, weighed 30kg and would have a bite like a rottweiler.
He said: “The seal’s teeth carry an evil bacteria which can give a very nasty infection.
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“They may look sweet but their bite is far worse than most dog’s. Cara was very lucky.
“What she did for the seal was a brilliant help but we really must stress that people should not approach seals if they find them on the beach.
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“I would never condone approaching wild animals even though they might look harmless – people should keep back, keep their dogs away, and contact us so that we can assess the situation and then provide the appropriate veterinary care.
“The injury to the neck of this seal is the worst wound I have seen in 20 years.”
Officers rescued the seal when it beached itself again and took it to the RSPCA’s East Winch wildlife centre.
Centre manager Alison Charles said the cut on the pup’s neck was more than two centimetres deep.
She said: “The netting had worn away the skin and then gone into the blubber. He is on antibiotics and is a bit sleepy at the moment.
“It will take a long time to heal and require careful nursing, but with a little tlc he should be ready to return to the sea in a few months.”
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