Seal pup drops by Tauranga home

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 16:20 13/12/2011

A seal pup makes itself comfy in Annette Swoffer's Tauranga home.

Seal Pup
ANNETTE SWOFFER Zoom
A wandering baby fur-seal which made it into a Bay of Plenty house gets comfortable.

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A baby seal gave a Tauranga woman the shock of her life when it fumbled its way through her cat door and cuddled up on the couch.

"I was looking at it thinking, it's got flippers, it's not a cat or a dog ... I thought I was hallucinating," said Annette Swoffer, who found the pup on Sunday.

It crashed its way through the cat door and up into her kitchen, where Swoffer discovered it hanging out with the cats.

Not knowing quite what to do, she called a friend to come and look.

"I said to him 'what's that?' and he said 'a seal' so I know I wasn't having a stroke or something."

Swoffer said at first she though the cats had brought in a rabbit, or perhaps the noise was an intruder. But she knew it was something different when the dog didn't react.

"I got a shock. It's kind of like finding an elephant in your house," she said.

The baby fur seal, however, was not perturbed.

It waddled its way into the lounge and onto the couch, where it then took a nap.

"It got itself quite comfortable. I wanted to pat it because it was just so beautiful but I knew you aren't supposed to touch wild animals," Swoffer said.

"Apparently they have a very vicious bite and are quite toxic so I'm glad I didn't."

Swoffer called the SPCA, who called the Department of Conservation, who were already looking for a seal reported ambling along Welcome Bay Rd.

Biodiversity programme manager Chris Clark arrived to remove the young pup and release him back into the water.

He told the Bay of Plenty times he'd spent the afternoon catching what was likely the same seal after it wandered along the Devonport Rd area.

Clark said the pup had probably just weaned from its mother.

He said anyone who encountered a seal, or other wild animal, should call the DOC hotline 0800 DOC HOT before emergency services.

Swoffer, meanwhile, said she believed the seal would be back.

"I'm just waiting to see if it comes flopping back up the driveway."

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