Holidaymaker rushed to hospital in Devon with serious bite after stroking a seal

Sammy seal bite credit Devon Live / Joanne Tarpey
Mark Tarpey was treated in A and E after being bitten by the seal. Credit: Devon Live / Joanne Tarpey

A holidaymaker in Devon was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a local seal.

Mark Tarpey had attempted to pet the seal on the head after arriving in Torquay for a holiday.

Mark and wife Joanne were both looking forward to seeing the friendly female grey seal, who is famous with locals, fishermen and holiday makers.

When the pair arrived in Babbacombe, they rushed down to the pier and had their photo taken with the seal, affectionately known as Sammy.

Credit: Devon Live / Joanne Tarpey

Mark then decided to try and stroke her on the head.

Sammy responded by biting his hand, leaving the steps covered in blood.

The couple rushed straight to Torbay Hospital's A&E and Mark was treated for his wounds.

Credit: Devon Live / Joanne Tarpey

Now the couple from Lancashire are warning others about the dangers of approaching seals.

The Seal Project conservation charity, which monitors seals at Brixham and Babbacombe, said: "Unfortunately Sammy has been habituated by human interaction over a sustained period and her natural behaviours have been changed for life."

A local hotel worker, Jack Howell said: "There are a couple of seals that come around every day. This is the first time I've ever heard of anybody being bitten.

"Obviously seals are wild animals and we would always advise people not to approach them."

Credit: Devon Live / Joanne Tarpey