The cuddly-looking mammal was spotted having a whale – or rather, a seal – of a time near Arundel by Jamie Ward from Walberton this morning.
He was on a walk with his sons Joshua, Charlie, seven, and Noah five, and Joshua’s best friend Molly Smithers, eight, to celebrate his eldest son’s ninth birthday.
The 36-year-old said: “I walked past, and said ‘look boys, someone has a model seal on their decking’, and then it moved its head.
“The kids were fascinated; they absolutely loved it. Josh thought it was a great birthday present.”
He checked online to see if seals are often spotted in the area, which brought up a Gazette article from 2013, which was the last reported sighting.
He believed it was a pup, and it appeared to be moulting. He wondered if there was a breeding pair in the river.
Jamie said: “It was just chilling out at the side of the river.
“It seemed quite happy and didn’t mind us standing and staring. It was really unusual to see one.”