The massive elephant seals are the sole existing members of the genus Mirounga. They belong to the animal family Phicidae (meaning true seals) and are considered as one of the largest members of the order Carnivora. They are further categorized into two species, namely the Northern Elephant Seals and the Southern Elephant Seals. The northern ones are found in the Pacific coast of U.S, Canada and Mexico. Much bigger than their northern relatives are the southern elephant seals, found in the warm waters of Soutj Geargia, Macquarie Island and the coasts of South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand. These creatures are known for their hunting skills and are considered to be one of the most powerful and swift swimmers in the world. To know some more interesting facts & amazing information on elephant seals, read the pointers given below in this article.
Elephant Seal Facts
Species: 2 species
Length: 16 feet (5 m)
Weight: 6000 lb (2700 kg)
Average Life Span: Male - 20 years; Female - 23 years
Diet: Squid and fish (including small sharks and rays)
Range: Warm waters
Habitat: Aquatic (come ashore mostly to breed)
Age of Sexual Maturity: Males - 5 years; Females - 3 to 4 years
Gestation Period: Approximately 350 days
Number of Offspring: One
Interesting & Amazing Information On Elephant Seals
- Elephant seals were originally land mammals, but gradually, due to the development of a layer of blubber, they began to live in water.
- The two species of elephant seal include M.angustirostris (Northern Elephant Seal) and M.leonina (Southern Elephant Seal).
- Southern Elephant Seals can dive up to a maximum of 1500 meters or 4921 feet deep in water and remain inside for a period of about 2 hours.
- The southern species is considered to be the largest of all the seals, with the males weighing a massive 8,800 pounds.
- Elephant seals have a typical pattern of mating. On the arrival of the mating season, the males start to define and defend a particular territory. They collect around 40 to 50 females. Mating dominance is also seen among the male elephant seals. They battle aggressively with each other, some of which end with roaring and violent posturing.
- From the breeding beaches, the southern species are known to travel great distances, with the longest recording distance of over 3000 miles.
- On their breeding beaches, elephant seals are known to sleep so soundly and deeply that it is possible for a person to sit on them without waking them up.
- These seals were once aggressively hunted for their oil and were almost on the brink of extinction. Fortunately, due to the incorporation of some legal acts and due to the efforts of a number of wildlife conservation organizations, their population has rebounded.
- Northern Elephant Seals can stay underwater for around 40 minutes and sometimes even longer.
- The massive difference in size between the male and female elephant seals is considered to be the biggest relative difference in size between the sexes of any mammal.
- It is so difficult to measure the actual size of male seals that scientists use portions of dead seals to estimate their weight.