Elephant seal Facts

Elephant seal Facts
Elephant seal is the largest type of seal in the world. It belongs to the family of true (earless) seals. There are two species of elephant seal: northern and southern (name refers to the hemisphere where they can be found). Elephant seal inhabits warm coastal waters of Canada, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand. Both species of elephant seal were hunted nearly to extinction in the past because of their meat and oil. Starting from the end of the 19th century, elephant seals are protected by law. Thanks to this law, both northern and southern elephant seal are once again numerous and widespread in the wild.
Interesting Elephant seal Facts:
Elephant seal can reach 10 to 20 feet in length and 2000 to 8800 pounds of weight. Males are 5 to 6 time larger than females.
Elephant seal can be grey, light or dark brown or tan-colored, depending on the age, gender and season.
Elephant seal has thick layer of blubber under the skin which keeps body temperature stable in the freezing waters.
Elephant seal has massive body, short front flippers with prominent nails and fully webbed hind flippers. Unlike females, males have elongated, inflatable, trunk-like snouts (hence the name "elephant seal").
Elephant seal spends 80% of its life in the ocean and only 20% of its life on the coast. Despite its massive body, it moves faster than humans on the sand dunes.
Elephant seal can spend nearly 2 hours under the water and dive to a depth of 7834 feet. Females spend less time under the water compared with males.
Elephant seal is a carnivore. Its diet is based on skates, rays, eels, squids, octopi and penguins.
Natural enemies of elephant seals are killer whales, large sharks and humans.
Mating season of elephant seals takes place during the winter.
Males fight to establish dominance and get opportunity to mate. Only 1 out of 10 males is large enough to become alpha or beta male (the ones that reproduce).
Males occupy territory, produce loud, roaring noise (using their trunks) and protect it from other males. They do not eat during this period which usually lasts around 3 months.
Alpha males have harems of 30 to 100 females and they are able to successfully impregnate around 50 females per season.
Pregnancy lasts 11 months and ends with a single baby, which is born during the winter. Nursing period lasts one month. Female doesn't eat during this period.
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 to 5 years and produce up to 10 pups for a lifetime. Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 to 6 years, but they rarely mate before they reach the age of 9 to 12 years.
Elephant seal can survive 20 (males) to 23 (females) years in the wild.

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