Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Journey Continues...Elephant Seals!

Elephant Seals on the beach at Piedras Blancas in southern Big Sur near San Simeon. Once a year between November and March the Elephant Seals come here to have their babies. The males can have more than one mate but the female only one. They form a "harem" with the male being the dominate figure. 

We visited at a great time as the some of the females had already given birth. Here shows a seal pup nursing. I guess the sea gull was also interested in nursing process!

Cute pup!  Pups can range in weight from 60 to 80 pounds at birth. Females are between 9 to 12 feet and 900 to 1800 pounds at full growth. Males range from 14 to 16 feet and there weight is 3000 to 5000 pounds! While the seals are on land, both males and females loose 1/3 of their body weight during the breeding season.  

The beach is a very noisy place during the breeding season. Males vocalize threats, pups squawk to be fed and the females argue with each other over location spots and their pups. An "Elephant Seal Symphony of Sound" is created with gargles, grunts, snorts, belches, squeaks and trumpeting of the male!

A male elephant seal..."puberty around 4 years of age, at which time the nose starts to grow. The nose is a secondary sexual characteristic, like a man's beard., and can reach the astonishing length of 2 feet." 

My dear husband and his own personal interpretation of a male elephant seal "trumpeting"! 

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse ... photo was taken while observing the Elephant Seals on the beach!

Thanks for joining us on our journey up the coast on Highway 1!

PS: For more information on the Elephant Seals please refer to http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/elephant-seals.html


Loris said...

Great picture story, Elaine. Don't you love those huge, funny creatures? That pup is really cute!

SewCalGal said...

Great post. I love this area and hope to someday go back when the Elephant seals are in pupping season!


LyndaG said...

Just a thank you for the great posts on your journey - it has given me a great break from the snow and cold in Maine... and the desire to get on the road.