A seal that has been hitching rides with paddle boarders on the Dorset coast slept on the back of one local’s board for four hours.
The animal, known as Sammy by locals in Weymouth, has become a regular sight for beachgoers, often approaching people on the beach and being regularly checked up on by volunteers.
Last week the seal was pictured riding on Buster Cottam’s board, and appearing on This Morning today, the local told how ‘gentle’ Sammy was similar to a dog, staying in a ‘deep sleep’ on his board – while occasionally ‘stretching and yawning’.
He explained: ‘I was out with my mum and it was her first go at paddle-boarding, she was just thinking about standing up when we saw Sammy’s head pop up.
‘We headed back to shore and I jumped up on the board and Sammy got up right behind me. We have a group of volunteers looking after Sammy and they said to paddle him back out to sea.
‘He was asleep for most of it, he stayed on there for about four hours sleeping. Every now and again he would stretch and yawn.
He added: ‘After about two hours I had a go at getting him off and he got closer and his whiskers were tickling my back and he’s very friendly.’
Buster says that Sammy was ‘very dog like’ and that while he started off dozing on the board, he soon fell into a ‘deep sleep’.
‘I would most describe him as like a dog’, said Buster, ‘When he was asleep he started off dozing, like a dog, in and out.
‘Then he went into a deep sleep and you can tell the difference, very dog like. He was really gentle so I barely noticed he was on there’.
Last month there were reports of people throwing stones at Sammy, according to the Dorset Echo.
The paper reported that police officers had to meet with the RSPCA to ensure his safety. But this hasn’t stopped Sammy being friendly around people.
The animals are usually known for being elusive and shy but Sammy looked more than comfortable as he balanced on the board.
Buster told that while the animals are not aggressive, he was still careful to avoid Sammy’s sharp teeth to avoid him ‘nipping and scratching’ while trying to play.
‘He’s not aggressive’, said Buster, ‘But seals do like to play and they can nip or scratch, so I kept my distance.
He added: ‘There’s been reports of amorous behaviour, but whether he’s just hitching a ride I wouldn’t like to say.’
Buster added that while Sammy is friendly, the general rule is not to approach the animals.
‘I think the general message is just to stay clear and keep your distance, said Buster, ‘But definitely don’t approach the seal is the general rule.’