BOSTON (CBS) — The temperatures have slowly been increasing, but lounging on the beach may still not sound like a great idea. Unless you’re a seal.
Several adult harp and hooded seals have arrived on Massachusetts beaches from Canada and are enjoying the Bay State’s snow-covered sand.
The animals are seven-feet long and more than 300 pounds and are setting up from Salisbury to the South Shore.
Staff with the New England Aquarium has been monitoring the seals for two weeks.
The staff says normally most of the visiting seals are juvenile harp seals, but not this year. Canadian wildlife officials say many young harp seals died off at the beginning of the winter from an unknown source.
Harp and hooded seals regularly spend two or three days out of the water resting.
As the warm weather arrives in late March and early April, the seals will swim back to the Gulf of Maine.
A harp seal relaxes in Quincy Wednesday
While seals are generally not aggressive, say the aquarium staff, they will defend themselves if felt threatened, so it’s advised not to get close to the animals.
Additionally, getting too close to a seal is illegal under federal law. The Marine Mammal Protection Act considers disturbing a seal harassment, and violators can be subject to large fine.
All seal spotting can be reported to the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Hotline at 617-973-5247.