Surprises are always in store for Southern Californians, but thinking you were woken up by surfing buddy scrambling on the roof over your bedroom, only to find a baby seal instead, was a real waker-upper for a Newport Beach resident.
Sighting seals in a beach town is hardly unusual, but finding one that beached itself on a roof deck is.
Feeling groggy, Mike Kai went to investigate:
I threw on some clothes to see what was going on. Just as I crest the top stair, to my surprise I see a baby seal hanging out! At this point I can't tell if I'm still dreaming or not, so I go downstairs and grab my camera. Take a photo- yes, check, baby seal on camera.
Kai posted the photos and video on lifeyo.com. and wrote:
"To my surprise I see a baby seal hanging out! At this point I can't tell if I'm still dreaming or not, so I go downstairs and grab my camera."
Now that his brain verified what his eyes and photos saw, Kai called authorities to come help the pinniped pup out of his predicament.
The conversation went something like this Kai wrote:
Police: "Hello, Newport Beach police."
Me: "Hi, um, there is a sea lion on my roof."
Police: "Sir, there is a what on your roof?"
Me: "A sea lion. Can you come and help him out?"
Police: "OK Sir." Pause....laughter "We'll send someone over right away." (incredulously)
Meanwhile, I snap some more photos of the little guy. My roommate is up and our neighbor comes to check it out too. I think, maybe this guy can be my friend? Maybe he can live in my bathtub like the 1994 movie classic, “Andre.“ We'd hang out all the time and people would respect us. If they didn't we would escape on a wild adventure...
The police didn’t show up, but animal control did.
Before he (animal control officer) goes up the stairs, Andre, I mean the seal, climbs up on the railing and looks like he's gonna jump!
With the help of his now wide awake roommates and animal control, they managed to coax the pup off the ledge and into a box.
We try to talk him down but he looks like he's just showing off. Moments later, Andre gets put in a box. Andre looks bummed. Andre gets taken to the Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, to get checked out before being released.
Goodbye Andre. Next time you visit I promise I won't call animal control on you again...
Release won’t be immediate for “Andre” now renamed “Fiddler” by Marine Mammal Center workers…
"His name is Fiddler," said Melissa Sciacca, the center's development director. "Like, 'On the roof.'"
Sciacca told the Orange County Register that Fiddler, who weighed in at 32 pounds, is about 40 pounds underweight and will be their guest for two to three months before being released into the wild.
The pup, likely weaned from its mother recently, and difficulties adapting can often lead to malnutrition, said Michele Hunter, the center's director of operations.
Sea lions are often found in unlikely place, but getting up the roof deck was an amazing achievement. They’ve been found in public restrooms, hanging around snack bars and one was discovered in a restaurant kitchen, she said.
Although seals look awkward and clumsy out of the water, Tanya Forrest, a center volunteer, said:
"It's amazing how they can climb on things because of the way their front flippers are designed. They get around; they're very mobile."