Updated as of 7:30 p.m. on April 13.

BELMAR, NJ — The seal that made its way onto Belmar's Fifth Avenue beach eventually returned on its own to the ocean waters.

A representative of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center checked on the animal on April 13 before it waddled back into the surf, according to eyewitness accounts.

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Around noon on April 12, photographer Nancy Orlowski took these snapshots along the Fifth Avenue beach. This is the second known instance this year that a harbor seal pup has come ashore in Belmar. On February 1, public works employees discovered a pup on the jet-ski dock at the Belmar Marina. And in the past several months, whales have been seen in the waters off Belmar — the most recent being earlier this week.

Seals can be found in New Jersey waters through the early spring, when pups can typically be seen along the shoreline following the birthing season. They feed on small fish in the shallow waters and then come ashore to replenish their oxygen supply before returning to the waters, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.

Seals are not as cute and friendly as they look, and they can bite. That is why it’s important to stay at least 50 yards from a resting pup. Plus, it’s against federal regulations to touch them.

Anyone who witnesses a seal that is distressed or may need help is asked to call their local police department or the stranding center on its 24-hour hotline at 609-266-0538.

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