We've seen a fair share of unexpected backyard wildlife (five-foot goanna lizard, anyone?), but a seal visitor miles from shore still raises eyebrows.

Image: RSPCA Norfolk

This juvenile grey seal turned up in a garden in Norfolk, England just recently, prompting a quick call to the local RSPCA. Though the animal was some two kilometers from the sea, wildlife officials didn't suspect anything sinister at play.

"The seal had managed to make his way into the garden, just off a coastal road, through the fence," RSPCA animal collection officer Naemi Kilbey said in an official statement. "Despite being well and truly lost, he luckily didn’t have any obvious injuries or illness." After a quick checkup, the wayward pinniped was loaded into a rescue van for release back into the wild.

The animal most likely made its way up the River Glaven, which runs just a few hundred metres from the garden where he was found. It's a long journey, but seals are famously skilled at swimming inland. Harbour seals in Canada have been documented cruising nearly 300 kilometres up river, and chances are you remember this Nessie-impersonating trio, who swam 16 kilometres into Scotland's famous loch.

"It looks like this guy's internal navigation system got a bit frazzled," adds Kilbey. "The [homeowner] certainly had a shock when she spotted him lazing around in her shrubbery!"

We're also happy to see that the homeowner kept her distance. Cute as they are, seals can be aggressive when threatened or stressed.


Top header image: Chris Jones/Flickr