"What do you do when you walk outside and there's a seal on your deck? You ring your friends and say 'guess what? There's a seal on my deck'."

Barry and Alison Gibson have discovered what a drawcard a seal is, after posting a photo on Facebook of the mammal lounging in the shade on their outdoor sofa at their Whitianga Waterways home.

Barry also phoned the Department Of Conservation, which sent a ranger around and informed them their visit was quite normal. A young adult seal probably moved on by his mother, the animal chose the Gibsons' pad as a place to hang.

"I walked around the corner of the house onto the deck and right next to my leg this head moved, and I looked around and thought 'What the heck was that?'," says Barry.


"I thought it was a dog and ducked behind some outdoor furniture. Then the seal just looked at me and put his back down on the deck.

"I was quite surprised how tolerant he was of people. It wasn't scared at all and seemed quite comfortable having people wandering around it 2m to 3m away."

Barry says the couple moved the outdoor furniture partly to block it from getting into their garden.

"When I moved the sofa into the shade, the seal hopped up. It made itself right at home. I stood there saying to Alison 'this thing is taking the p***."

The Gibsons didn't feed the animal and have only toyed with the idea of naming it - Cedric or Sammy - and were pleased when it moved off on its own once the couple settled in for a night of TV.

Seals are not an uncommon sight around residential homes and businesses in the Coromandel Peninsula suburb of Whitianga.

Emily McKeague from the DoC Whitianga office says seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Act and unless obviously injured or posing a threat to itself or to people, should be left to do their thing by giving them space to rest.

The DoC hotline 0800 DOC HOT is manned 24/7 for injured wildlife.