THE JOURNEY OF A HARBOR SEAL PUP WITHOUT A MOTHER

Seal Pup Cutey 3-31-2014 - 1 WATERMARK

Somehow this little harbor seal pup has been left without a mother.  If a mother is separated from her pup for any reason shortly after birth, she may not return for the pup.  Harbor seal pups need to nurse for 4 to 6 weeks and are unable to survive on their own until they are weaned.  This pup is about 3 weeks old.

Little scamp sneaking milk 3-31-2014 WATERMARK

Mom with 2 pups and sea lions 3-31-2014 WATERMARK

A harbor seal mother brings her pup to the beach to nurse.  The motherless pup immediately tags along .  This harbor seal mom doesn’t know it, but it appears she now has 2 pups.  (Harbor seals only have one pup at a time.)  Three little sea lion pups, which need rescue look on with interest as the mom and 2 pups crawl by.

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The mother’s own pup has a quick meal & here’s the little guy sneaking up.

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The smell of the mother’s milk must be tantalizing to the motherless pup.  He comes closer.

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The pup moves around the other side of the mother’s pup making sure to stay out of her eyesight.  Finally, the pup is in position and latches on to one of the harbor seal mother’s teats and suckles.

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The mother’s head pops up and she raises a flipper to tell her own pup to nurse.  The motherless pup suckles quickly.

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The harbor seal pup nurses on both teats.  His little eyes are wide open.

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The harbor seal mother realizes that this pup is nursing and knows it is not her pup.

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She chases the pup away. Harbor seal mother’s will chase other pups away by biting the pup’s tail.  This pup is well aware of that and quickly moves away, but is not happy.

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The harbor seal mother moves to another spot and rolls over to let her pup nurse.  Wait.  Here comes the motherless pup again.  It is hard work to get milk when you don’t have a mother.  The wound on this mother’s neck is from a fishing line.  She could not be rescued when she was pregnant and will not be rescued until her pup is weaned.  Since she is now nursing two pups, it may be awhile until she can be rescued.  She is an amazing mother. 

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& Here comes the pup getting ready to nurse once again.  He is an amazing little pup.

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All afternoon, the harbor seal mother would move away and her pup and this little motherless pup would follow along.  Here is the motherless pup once again getting a quick meal.  The life force in this little motherless pup is so strong and this harbor seal mother is really pretty patient with taking on another pup.  Her efforts at chasing the extra pup away over and over don’t work and she’s not really biting the pup as hard or as persistently as she could be.  I think she must be an angel in disguise.

Seal Pup Cutey 3-31-2014 - 2 WATERMARK

Only a few more weeks and this pup has a chance to survive.  By tagging along with this harbor seal mother, this pup will also be learning how to fish and take care of himself when he is “weaned”.  Lucky little pup.  Strong & brave little pup who didn’t just steal milk from another harbor seal mother, but also stole my heart.   Sweet little pup.  Do you know that those of us who watch you, love you?  I hope so.

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