For a second week in a row, an increasing number of seafaring mammals have turned up on Jersey Shore beaches, according animal officials in the state.
There have been at least 40 seal strandings in New Jersey within the last week, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, with sighting reports coming in from every coastal county.
The harsh winter weather is likely a factor, experts at the MMSC said.
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"Now that the ice is melting, they're out in front of the beaches feeding. They're waiting for the herring to come up the coast," said Bob Schoelkopf of the MMSC.
While it’s not unusual to spot seals at this time of year, more are showing up on the Jersey Shore than normal -- especially for such a short time span.
If you happen to spot a seal, MMSC officials ask that you snap a picture and contact them at (609) 266-0538.
It is also best to keep a distance of at least 50 feet away from the marine mammals, as they can get violent fairly quickly, MMSC warned.