Thursday, January 26, 2012

Elephant Seals

Male elephant seals are about 5 meters long and can weigh up to 3 tonnes (that's metric tons, I haven't figured out the other kinds yet). Every winter these behemoths drag themselves up onto Californian beaches to fight, molt and mate. A large colony of elephant seals frequents the coast of Año Nuevo State Reserve and we visited in December to experience these imposing creatures for ourselves. 

Roaring like motorbikes, the seals do nothing but lie on the beach, waiting for a fight. The bull in the photographs below was not actually eating his nose, rather he was bellowing at another male elephant seal in the water who was thinking of coming ashore nearby. Later, we saw the bull that was in the water engaged in a fight with yet another male, and I have included a picture of this (very distant I am afraid, sorry) bout as well. 

I don't know who won.

When they finish bellowing, the bulls have to shake their nose out of their mouths before they can close it. Nice.

Female elephant seal (they are about half the size of the males)

The fight

See that old house in the background? That's the seal's house. Seriously.

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