From December through February, gray seals give birth on islands and shoreline areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
It's not uncommon to see a mother and pup or a lone pup on a beach. Gray seal pups are born with a white, fluffy coat, known as lanugo, and nurse from the mother for approximately 16 to 17 days.
"A mother seal may be off feeding when someone comes across a seal pup on the beach," says Mendy Garron, marine mammal stranding program coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region. "The best thing you can do is keep people and pets away from the seal pup, so the mother has a chance to return."
NOAA Fisheries reminds members of the public to respect wildlife by maintaining a safe distance of at least 150 feet from seals.