By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – More than two dozen dolphins have washed up dead along New Jersey’s coast in the last month (SEE RELATED STORY).

It’s part of a rash of dolphin deaths in the mid-Atlantic states that could well be linked to a virus fatal to them, but not to us. That’s not to say you should be careless if you should come upon one of them.

READ: Experts Struggling To Figure Out Why More Dolphins Are Dying Along S. Jersey Shore

Sure they’re cute, and when you see a dolphin in trouble your initial instinct might be to try and help. Bob Schoelkopf at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey has a single word of advice: Don’t!

“That’s the worst thing you could do right now, especially this time of year when the waters are warm and predators are out there in a lot larger numbers than we would normally see,” he said.

Those predators, sharks for the most part, could opt to take a bite out of you instead of the dolphin. Also, any deceased animal will carry a lot of bacteria that could affect you as well.

Schoelkopf recalls how a mother allowed her kids to sit on a dead dolphin for pictures this week. You wouldn’t do that with road kill now, would you?

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