Over 2,500 Grey Seals Preparing for Spring Force Authorities to ‘Seal’ Off Norfolk Beach

Grey seals in large numbers have gathered at a Norfolk beach in the United Kingdom in recent days, leading to the closure of the area. Over 2,500 seals, including seal pups, have been reported at the shore where the animals prepare for the UK’s upcoming spring season by molting their winter fur.

This crowd gathering by the marine mammals has forced local authorities to ‘seal’ off Horsey Beach, located in the county of Norfolk, England.

This is not the first time that seals have gathered on quiet beaches and rocky areas along the UK coastline at this time of the year. In fact, common seals can also be found in Scotland, as well as the country’s eastern and southeast coast.

Meanwhile, grey seals spend their time around the eastern, northern, and western coastlines; where they eat and give birth to their offspring. The presence of humans can disturb their private seal times.

Grey Seals Gathering

Over 2,500 Grey Seals Preparing for Spring Force Authorities to 'Seal' Off Norfolk Beach
(Photo : Photo by Pascal Mauerhofer on Unsplash)

The gathering of grey seals at the Norfolk beach is the time of the year where they shed off their worn-out winter fur and grow brand new coats for the approaching springtime temperatures, according to local reports. The annual molting process, which can be painful for the seals, occurs after two to three months from breeding and it takes approximately four to six weeks to complete, according to scientists.

The temporary closure of Horsey Beach means people will not be allowed to enter its premises to prevent disturbing the grey seals. Beachgoers also planning to engage in water activities, including surfing, are prohibited as well.

In addition to being an ideal site for molting their winter fur, the Norfolk beach is a significant breeding ground for the species of Atlantic grey seal (Halichoerus grypus).

While the grey seals at Norfolk beach seem to be looking forward to springtime weather, a recent Norfolk weather forecast shows that snow showers could hit the country in March, according to the UK’s weather agency Met Office. This transition is the same in other regions across the northern hemisphere, where other animals (not only seals) prepare for warmer temperatures during spring after enduring the winter months.

Also Read: How Does an Elephant Seal Sleep While Still Awake Under Water?

Do Seals Like Beaches?

One of the many examples as to why the public must not disturb the marine mammals occurred back in 2023. Authorities in San Diego, California, sealed off a popular beach for seven years to protect sea lions. This came after people were dangerously getting closer to the mammals, as well as taking selfies and even harassing the animals, including their pups, the Smithsonian Magazine reported.

Although seals and sea lions like beaches, the past several decades have seen an increase in encounters between beachgoers and mammals, especially in urban areas. The expansion of human communities near beaches and other coastal areas is one of the many reasons why the animals are being disturbed.

Related Article: Coyotes Behind Mysterious Seal Pup Deaths in California, Researchers Confirm

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