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Northern Elephant Seal - Big with Big Schnozzle

big male elephant seal


The Northern Elephant Seal of the pacific coast of North America is the largest of all seals, sea lions and the walrus. They get their names of course from the enormous fleshy schnozzle (aka probiscus or nose) the males have hanging off the front of their faces. The nose is useful in helping amplify their loud vocalizations. The males are much, much larger and can grow to be about 20 ft (6 m) weighing 6,000 lbs (2,700 kg). Most of that is blubber. Because of this wealth of blubber the seals were targeted by commercial sealers in the 19th century that left their numbers dangerously low although they made a strong recovery after that.



northern elephant battle


Elephant seals dive to deep depths to feed on fish and squid. They can hold their breath for up to 2 hours. During breeding season in November there is a lot of loud shouting and aggressive behavior as the males jockey for a good position in the hierarchy so that they can mate with the most females. Females don’t even show up for mating for a couple of weeks after the males, so the males have time to sort out some of the rankings before the ladies arrive. Females give birth to one pup and have close bonds with the offspring. They don’t leave the pups to feed for about a month until the pups are weaned.


elephant seal pups



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