Seals are generally known to be elusive animals, but that’s not the case for this seal in Dorset, United Kingdom.
Because of his friendly personality, Sammy the seal has become a local celebrity at Weymouth beach.
This adorable creature is exceptionally outgoing and loves getting close to people. He would usually swim up to beachgoers and hop up on their paddleboards when he has the chance.
Sammy first appeared on the beach during the onset of the quarantine. Since there were only a few beachgoers during this time, the animal found it as the perfect sanctuary to fish for food and rest on the sand.
But even when restrictions relaxed and people started going to the beach again during the summer, Sammy was unbothered. In fact, it seemed like he was really looking forward to having company!
This seal would do anything to make friends.
“Sammy has a habit of popping up on people unexpectedly and tries to get onto their surfboard, kayak or on people’s back as they are swimming,” photographer Will Badman told The Dodo. “[He] seems to love the cameras … when he comes onto the beach to rest.”
One day, Badman woke up at 4 am to make the hour-long drive down to Weymouth Beach to catch Sammy during sunrise. And as expected, the friendly seal was there going around the beach and finding new people to befriend.
During his visit, he used a camera with a long-focus lens to take snapshots of the cute animal from afar. But even if the photographer tried his best to remain inconspicuous, the “water doggo” seemed to know how that he is being watched.
Sammy can be seen smiling, sticking his tongue out, and waving at the camera in Badman’s photos. This seal is clearly soaking up all the attention he’s getting!
“Sammy is a cheeky young seal and the expressions on his face are funny,” Badman told Bored Panda.
When he’s tired of swimming, Sammy hitches rides on paddleboards to rest or sleep. The animal will often cozy up to the riders while atop the board.
Buster Cottam, a beachgoer, recently appeared on “This Morning” to share his encounter with the seal.
While he was on his paddleboard, Sammy suddenly popped up behind him to rest. Cottam said the seal stayed there for about four hours to sleep.
He also observed that Sammy had a “very dog like” behavior.
“I would most describe him as like a dog,” he said. “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.”
Because the young seal is extra friendly, people are often tempted to touch him or get close to him. However, these behaviors are discouraged since he is still a wild animal. Beachgoers are advised to admire him from a distance and walk away in case the seal approaches them.
A group of volunteers has come together to ensure that Sammy stays safe while enjoying the beach and the people on it. According to the Dorset Echo, there have been reports of people throwing stones at Sammy. This makes it even more essential for the local community to watch over him and ensure his protection at all times.
As for Badman, he’s just thrilled to have had the chance of photographing this friendly seal.
“He was great to see and is not something that we normally have in this part of the UK,” he said. “I traveled an hour to go and see him and it was well worth it.”
Visit Will Badman’s Facebook photography page to see more adorable pictures of Sammy the friendly seal.