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Cute Animals

Unexpected Visitor: Seal Strolls into Hardware Store



Quick Smiles:

  • An unsuspecting hardware store in New Zealand received a visit from a seal, leading to staff creating an on-the-spot containment area.
  • New Zealand fur seals, or “kekeno”, have a penchant for appearing in unlikely places, including movie sets and inner-city areas.
  • Seals making surprise appearances is not just a New Zealand phenomenon; even in Australia, they’ve been known to pop up in parks and public areas.

Shoppers and employees alike were in for an aquatic surprise at a hardware store when an unlikely visitor made its way through the aisles.

A Sealing Surprise

Sara Yates, the manager of a Bunnings hardware store located on the North Island of New Zealand, could hardly believe her ears when she was informed that a seal had casually strolled into the store’s delivery yard.

credit – Bunnings (released)

The incident, which took place early on a Monday morning, was as astonishing as it was unexpected.

Pictures shared with media show store staff swiftly improvising, using heavy products like dishwashers and ovens to encircle the seal, creating an impromptu containment area.

credit – Bunnings (released)

The Seal’s Journey

The unexpected visitor wasn’t just any seal, but a New Zealand fur seal, known to locals as a “kekeno”.

It was reported that before its little escapade into Bunnings, the seal had crossed a road.

Two rangers from the Department of Conservation (DOC) were soon on the scene.

They safely moved the kekeno into their vehicle and transported it to the nearby Reotahi marine reserve.


Seals in Strange Places

While it might sound unusual for Americans, New Zealand seems to have a knack for seals appearing in unexpected places.

“Despite it happening every winter, it takes people by surprise,” mentions Laura Boren, a DOC science advisor.

Past incidents include a seal found almost 60 miles inland on the set of the iconic movie “The Hobbit”, and there have been multiple other sightings throughout New Zealand in 2023.

To provide some context for American readers, seals have been known to make surprise visits elsewhere, too.

For instance, over in Australia, locals once gathered to observe a 400kg male seal affectionately named “Neil the Seal”, who decided to settle in a Tasmanian park.

However, authorities reminded people that while the animal might appear charming, it remains a wild creature and can be potentially dangerous.


Dr. Bruce Englefield, an anthrozoologist, emphasized, “As soon as you give them a name, people think of them as being like humans… he’s a 400kg [approximately 882 pounds] wild animal.”

While it’s undoubtedly an endearing story of an unexpected guest, it serves as a reminder of the wild nature of such creatures, even if they momentarily wander into our daily lives.