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Man thinks puppy is stuck in mud but is shocked to discover what it really is

Cows looking down at seal stuck in mud dog-wow
© Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary - Facebook

When a curious herd of cows drew birdwatcher Ian Ellis' attention to something stuck in a mud puddle, he could never have guessed what he'd see through his telescope.

By Zoë Monk

Published on the 22/02/2021, 22:00

Keen birdwatcher Ian Ellis was at Frampton Marsh nature reserve in Lincolnshire when he spotted a herd of cows looking at something on the ground.

Ian assumed it was a bird or even a dog that had got itself stuck in a muddy puddle and was worried the cows might trample it. But when he decided to take a closer look through his trusty telescope, he couldn't believe what was staring back at him.

Surprise discovery

Ian was understandably stunned when he realised that he was looking at a baby seal trapped in the mud. He went to look for the pup's mother, with the curious cows still looking on, but couldn't find her.


Cows looking puzzled at the seal pup in their field.

Posted by Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Not sure of the best way to help the seal pup out of its predicament, Ian phoned Duncan Yeadon, director at the Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary for advice. 

Mr Yeadon gave instructions to Ian on how he should pick up and move the pup to safety.


Mr. Ellis who found and helped to rescue the seal pup.

Posted by Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The animal was then collected and transported over to Natureland for rehabilitation. 

Rehabilitation and release

Staff at the sanctuary put the tiny seal pup’s age at just five days old. They thought she had likely swum into the marsh when the North Sea was at high tide. The animal had then got trapped as the tide went out.

The little seal had not fed for some time, lost a considerable amount of weight and was very dehydrated. So as soon as she arrived at Natureland, she was taken to the sanctuary's Seal Hospital where she was treated for a respiratory infection. 

Given the name Celebration by her carers, she was given lots of high-fat herrings to help her put on weight which she was more than happy to gobble up.


Celebration in her pen at Skegness Natureland seal hospital.

Posted by Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Once Celebration had gained enough weight and could feed by herself in the water, she was released into the wild.

See also: Dog rescues an abandoned puppy, but everything is not what it seems