Seals, like the Sirens of Greek myth who perched on rocky shores to lead passerby astray, are trying to lure you — and you must not give in. Their weapon: those photogenic little faces.

Let Atlas Obscura set the scene:

Imagine: it’s the tail end of Memorial Day Weekend. All your friends have been posting pictures of themselves laughing it up in various attractive early summer situations. You, on the other hand, have found yourself at a relatively average New England beach — gritty sand, cloudy sky, some water. There is no Instagram filter that can enhance this. How to set yourself apart?

Look! There, down the beach — a lone seal pup, wriggling in the sand. Do you approach the seal? Do you click that little button that switches to the front-facing camera? Do you put your head near the pup’s head, as though you are pals, and smile?

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No. Do not do it, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said in a recent press release. Do not take a selfie with the seal.

If Mommy Seal, who is probably nearby hunting for food, sees you with Baby Seal, she might abandon her young pup forever. (So much for maternal instincts.) Trust me: You don’t want that kind of guilt on your hands, and you sure don’t want any photos around to verify your disgraceful affront to sealkind.

If that’s not enough to keep you away, NOAA also wants you to know this: “Seals have powerful jaws, and can leave a lasting impression.”

So next time you encounter a cute, squirmy wild animal, keep your cellphone-wielding flippers to yourself and recall the immortal words of NOAA: “There is no selfie stick long enough!”

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