Feb23

The Weird and Wacky | Elephant Seals

Categories // Camping with Kids, Camping with Pre-Schoolers, Tweens, Family, Mammals, Kids Camping Fun!, Adventures, Kids, Pre-School, Boys, Girls, Wildlife

The Weird and Wacky | Elephant Seals

elephant-seals

Elephant Seals of California | Southern California is a great place to learn about Elephant Seals. These amazing creatures come to land in large colonies during the winter.

Elephant Seals of California

Southern California is a great place to learn about Elephant Seals. These amazing creatures come to land in large colonies during the winter. Visitors to the southern parts of California can spend some times looking at these wild animals and also learning about their history.

The elephant seal gets its name form the large nose of the male seal. This proboscis looks like a mall elephant trunk, so the seal was given the name Elephant seal. The species of elephant seal that lives in southern california are called the Northern Elephant Seal. There is also a species of larger Elephant Seal called the Southern Elephant Seal. The southern Elephant Seals lives in the cold antarctic waters and does not travel as far north as California.

When observing Elephant Seals from a safe distance, you will learn that Elephant Seals spend most of their lives in the ocean. They come ashore in the winter for mating season. The female seals come ashore to giver birth to their babies, also known as pups, each year. The females normally only give birth to one pup per year.

The female Elephant Seals form large groups, called harems. The males spend their time on-shore competing for dominance. Sometimes the males just have show battles, but at other times these battles for dominance can result in bloody battles, in which some males can be severely injured. Male Elephant Seals are quite a bit larger than the females, and can inflict quite a bit of damage on another seal. A male can weight up to 2.5 tons, while the females can weigh up to one ton.

Another piece of fascinating information about the Elephant Seal is that while they are on shore, they do not eat. The females spend their time giving birth, nursing and mating. In addition the males can go for three months out out eating. This is particularly amazing since the females can spend a month nursing their pup, and their milk has a hight fat content to help the pup grow quickly.

Visitors interested in viewing Elephant seals during their time on-shore should stop at the Año  Nuevo State Reserve. This reserve is a home to a very large colony of Elephant Seals. At one time Elephant Seals were hunted for their blubber. This led to the near extinction of the species. In fact, during this time Elephant Seals were only found in Guadalupe Island. Today, Elephant Seals are protected , and the Reserve protects the colony of seals that call the park home.