When Hubby and I went to California in October, we stopped at Elephant Seal Beach in Big Sur and saw these fascinating sea mammals. I could have watched them all day! If you want to read why I Turned Into an Elephant Seal click here. I hope you enjoy the slideshow of my photos, along with…
Top Ten Cool Elephant Seal Facts
- Types: There are two types of elephant seals: Northern seals are found in California and Baja California; Southern seals populate the waters of Antarctica.
- In the Sea: Seals spend months at sea diving deep to forage. Southern elephant seals can dive over 4,921 feet (1,500 meters) deep and can hold their breath for over two hours, which is the longest of any water-based mammal.
- Food: Seals hunt for squid, eels, octopus, small sharks, rays and bottom dwelling fish.
- Lifespan: Northern seals live an average of 9 years while Southern seals live about 20 to 22 years.
- Size: The largest Southern seals grow up to 20 ft (6 m) and weigh up to 8,800 lbs (4,000 kg).
- Noses: Seals aren’t called “elephants” because of their size. They take their name from their trunklike inflatable snouts. The seals we saw on Elephant Beach were young males whose snouts hadn’t grown yet.
- Staying Warm: To keep warm in freezing cold water, seals not only have thick skin and fur, there is a thick layer of insulating blubber under their skin. Since their skin molts every year, the seals have to find land in order to molt.
- Aggression: Males battle each other for mating dominance.
- Alpha Males: Male seals claim breeding territories and defend them. They collect huge harems of smaller-sized females–about 40 to 50 females to one male.
- Birth: After an 11-month pregnancy, females give birth to a single pup. In the one month that the pup nurses, mother seal doesn’t eat—mom and pup live off the energy stored in mom’s reserves of blubber.
What did I tell you? Fascinating! Hon, have you ever seen elephant seals? Have you seen any fully grown with trunk-like snouts?