Elephant Seals are obviously not the only species with this problem!
This sub-adult male seems a bit sheepish about his not yet mature mating attempts.
He looks at me almost as if he’s apologetic!
He’s just practising now, learning how to deal with all the rejection.
Elephant Seal mating is disturbingly violent. It is a hard life being an elephant seal.
Looking into the female’s eyes it is impossible not to feel sorry for her and her continual harassment.
For now at least, the adolescent males just look beached and confused!
Cheers to you the Piedras Blancas elephant seals~
Title quote: “Cool Hand Luke.”
221 thoughts on ““What We Got Here is Failure to Communicate”~”
Awww… I almost feel sorry for him and his awkward attempts. It reminds me of some high school boys who had no idea how to woe a girl properly. Good for her, though, for asserting her right not to be hassled.
Yes, this is exactly how I felt! These males probably won’t mate this year. But the dominant males will and they will do so violently and without consent. Babies on the beach are sometimes killed in the melee. I have not been here when mating is in full force and I don’t want to be.
These are adorable photos – very moving and you’ve captured their very essence I feel. Can you really get so close to the seals? That must be an amazing experience! 😀 Wishing you a great weekend, Cindy. 😃
Thank you for such a lovely comment Annika & I am so pleased you are sensitive to the elephant seal’s essence. One thing I have learned photographing the faces of wild animals is they are emotional and intelligent creatures, who are as curious about me as I am about them! They are like us!
Strother Martin delivered that line perfectly. 🙂
It’s classic isn’t it!
My favorite line from one of my favorite movies…I feel bad for these two – but her expressions say it all – LEAVE ME ALONE
Those males need sexual harassment training! <3
Poor guy, he will learn quickly and in the end, he will succeed.
He will and the good news is that he is restoring elephant seal populations from near extinction!
Amazing animals Cindy 🙂
They are incredible & huge!
Resembles any bar on any given night. Poor guy is crashing and burning. 😃
True! He’s facing pretty intense rejection and you can see it in his face.
He seems pretty hapless doesn’t he!
Guess he need a bit more experience with the ladies.
He clearly does!
FBL (Full belly laugh)
Sounds heavy! XD
In more ways than one! 😉
Hello Cindy! Great pictures. I feel sorry for the male for trying so hard but to no avail. At the same time, the females don’t want to be bothered, so I feel bad for them too. Ugh! Nature.
Yes, one could see all sides of the equation here with empathy for all!
Goodness, oh how I love those elephant seals, they ALWAYS make me smile. They’re like a cartoon come to life! Have yourselves a wonderful weekend Cindy.😃
Their faces are so expressive! All wild animal faces show curiosity, intelligence and emotionality. So happy you like them & cheers to you my friend~ <3
I think as human adults we can all relate to that too, sometimes; lack of communication, misunderstanding, etc. We ask things like, “Can you hear me now?”, “Are you even listening?” etc. I find it very interesting the things we have in common with the mammal species. 🙂
I definitely find the commonalities interesting too! I was taught about the perils of anthropomorphizing animals, or ascribing them human characteristics. Having photographed so many wild animals, I now realize how misleading this concept is. Animals are complex, intelligent and emotional creatures, with many similarities to us.
Perhaps every species goes through an awkward stage, huh, Cindy?!
Yes! It certainly seems so!
Very pleased you like them & have a wonderful weekend!
These are terrific, Cindy! Hope you’re doing well. I always enjoy checking out your photography. 🙂
I always love hearing from you Carrie! Thanks for stopping by & have a great weekend~ <3
Fantastic photos. I feel so sorry for the female. But it was still sort of funny.
Yes, they are both sad, and a humorous and encompass all sorts of emotions don’t they! <3
I feel sorry for the females being harassed constantly. Poor things.
I noticed some females on more distant beaches, not up with the main colony. I wonder if they can remain here unmolested there and if so, these are smart females. I feel sorry for them too and did not hang around to watch the mating when it went into full swing.
Thank you so much!
They are adorable and interesting – communication is essential to all living creatures. I guess maybe humans are the least equipped creatures in this case…
Exactly! I was going to focus the post on this fact, but decided to keep it lighter. Humans have a long way to go to catch up with wild animals. After all wild animals kill to survive…..
I guess some people imagine they do as well…but modern man should be better than that.
Agreed. We should be better.
Great pix. And I love your headline.
I love Paul Newman! 😉
violent mating would not be for me… in any species..
Yes. It can be quite disturbing.
Grossartige Bilder Cindy…
Ich danke dir sehr! Ich bin froh, dass du sie genossen hast. Habe eine wundervolle Woche Ernst~
I love how you weave a narrative with your magnificent photos!
Those elephant eyes wrote the whole story! Hope all is well with you Rebecca & cheers too my friend~ <3
the males look so weird hey? the females always look so forlorn and in some cases in bad shape…….it’s a sad thing, but that is nature
oh.lovely pics too 🙂
Thank you for your thoughtful comments & taking the time to share them! Cheers to you~
Awesome pictures, thank you for sharing.
Thank you more for appreciating them!
Cindy, you never fail to delight me with these incredible posts. You have a gift! Have a beautiful weekend. xx
You just made me smile! Thank you for such a lovely comment~ <
Great series of photos !
Love them very much !!!
Very pleased you do & cheers too!
Aw poor baby. She’s crushing his male ego. What a gal! 😉
She has been through assertiveness training.
I would say so lol
God bless him. *shakes head*
He seems completely clueless about what he should do!
Poor thing needed a tour guide! I feel especially sorry for both of them. The experience had to be a horrible one.
The nature is so strange. I do not understand the purpose of violent for the activity that would sustain the species. An interesting post.
Yes it seems non-sensical. Only dominant males are allowed to mate and they have large harems whom they prohibit from mating with other males. This ensures that strong genes get passed to the greatest number of females. However, it also limits genetic diversity in the gene pool which can be species limiting, so yes, it is confusing. Interestingly, females actually select the harems and the male to join. Although I noticed some females alone on distant beaches. Maybe they are the smartest ones!
Ah, that is one good reason but with some down side..
You’re right, lots of down sides actually.
Isn’t the world full of amazing creatures?? thanks Cindy for bringing the to us over and over… Happy Weekend!! any plans?
Thank you Rhonda, :”all creatures wise and wonderful!” They are amazing and hope you have a wonderful weekend my friend~ <3
You too Cindy– are you traveling again???
Nope, going nowhere, just here at The Holler, Home Sweet Home. As Dorothy told us there is no place like home, right? Unless of course you never leave it, which would, for me, make it a prison. I love being here. Just not always. You are a sweetheart Rhonda and I am lucky to know you. <3
I’m with you Cindy– love being home, “but not always.” Just back from a week in San Francsico, then a week in Madison WI. Now home feels pretty good! Just watched Planet Earth this evening–(have you seen it?) made me think of your photos… take care. xo
My aunt and uncle went to university in Madison. I bet it was cold there and wet in San Fran, but warmer in Cali! I am watching Planet Earth and amazed as always. We are re-watching the originals again too!
Hi Cindy– you’re so right– wet & chilly in SF– and we love Madison–state capitol and college town, so pretty and so much going on. — Love your posts–Checking in every week!! xo
You rock my friend and I am lucky to know you~ <3
These are really evocative pictures. I can almost hear the cries of the seals. You do take lovely faces. I remember the grizzlies had expressions as well.
Wild animals do have expressions and emotions that show clearly on their faces. Thank you for noticing!
hehe I guess he thought it was worth a shot 😉
Nothing ventured nothing gained…..
LOL – their expressions say it all! You captured them perfectly, as always!
Hugs and Happy Friday dear one! <3
Oh Cindy, they’re soooo cute! Thanks for sharing!
They are cute aren’t they! So happy you think like I do! <3
Wow, he really looks like he’s trying to get friendly with her in the top image, like he’s saying, “Hey… How YOU doin?”
It’s interesting that the power dynamic is so different from one species to another. For example, among the Cassowaries in Australia, the males are scared of the females. There’s a documentary on Youtube showing a male (whose duty is to sit on the eggs and care for the young alone) who reluctantly abandons his young-ish chicks to fend for themselves because an adult female is demanding his special attention and would harm the chicks. Poor things. They seemed happy together (the male and the chicks).
These different patterns of behavior are confusing aren’t they and frankly, despite all the Darwinian explanations, lots of it doesn’t make much sense. Elephant Seals would be better off with more males mating and less dominance in the gene pool with only one male and 100 or so partners. Everyone would be happier too. I have to restrain myself thinking like a psychotherapist who treated abusive males for a few decades when I visit these guys. I have to use self talk, “They are elephant seals Cindy. They can’t go to group!”
Failure to communicate aside, this is what I call Sealrious and Sealous photography. Great shots, my friend. ♡(˘ᵋ ˘ )∿ ︵ ღсμтёღ
Well, I mean, they are, sealious. ♡(˘ᵋ ˘ )∿ ︵ ღсμтёღ
George Kennedy, ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ will get my attention every time. 🙂
It is a powerful moment in a powerful film. And of course Paul Newman’s in it! Strother Martin, AKA ‘Captain’, the prison warden was brilliantly done too.
A fine film all round. The opening scene where he’s drunkenly beheading the meters….
Somehow the film seems more relevant now, then ever. Especially in the US.
I assume you’re referring to the ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ mentality of the privatised prison service providers looking to make a fast buck out of people’s misery.
Yes, that, and the current resurgence of bigotry and cruelty in my country.
Dispiriting isn’t it?
Oh dear! The joys of trying to find one’s mating maturity! Or not in this case lol🙄😊
Painful for all of us, not just elephant seals, to even think about I know! 😉
Awww beautiful seals! I love that pic of the females eyes that you captured! She looks like she’s saying, leave me alone and let me enjoy the sunshine! Hugz from Lisa and Bear
Exactly, and I fully agree with her! <3
As everyone has already said, brilliant photos of this wonderful creature, Cindy. RH
Ahhh, so kind & so appreciated! Cheers to you in gorgeous Abaco~
Shakin’ the bush Boss!
Such a damn good movie!
👍 A classic.
Wonderful photos. They really are most characterful creatures. I remember in a nature show on television all about elephant seals, that the mating season did involve some pretty violent encounters between competing males, and they made some impressive noises when they were cross.
The males also rape females and squish babies in the violent melee, and you are right, the males do fight regularly but most intensely for control of the beach before the females arrive. The females pick the harem and male they want to join. I saw solitary females on empty beaches. These must have been the smart, feminist seals! 😉
Love those lusty elephant seals. Through your wonderful photos, I can hear those open-mouthed complaints 🙂 Oh, my goodness, the sounds they make!
It is incredible. You can hear the garrumping drum beat of the males from miles away. They are magnificent creatures!
Reblogged this on Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings and commented:
Ah, yes…love is in the air!
Love, and mayhen! Thank you for supporting these awesome creatures my friend & cheers to you~ <3
Terrific! Looks as if they are singing 🙂
Yes, a distressed duet!
Oh it’s such a tough life for them, isn’t it?! Adorable photos xxoo
It is an odd life, they spend the bulk of their lives alone in the deep ocean, and meet up, and mash up for a couple of months to breed, fight, and raise their young. I would want to find some empty atoll and live there instead! 😉
He should have been more suave and asked for the win list 😀
Good pics. 🙂
He has clearly not yet mastered suave & sophisticated! George Clooney should provide free lessons. 😉
Quite so. He wouldn’t get a seal of approval. 😀
Which is probably why he can’t seal the deal……….
I’d most likely get thrown out of the park, because I’d be beating pots and pans to stop the harassment 🙂 Lovely photos as always, Cindy 💛
Yes, I can relate! <3
Interesting and intriguing.
Thank you & cheers too!
Están poniéndose el brazo por encima en plan amigable y cantando alegremente. Son graciosos 🙂
Son animales divertidos y sorprendentes! Abrazos a ti mi amiga! <3
Great pictures as always, Cindy. 🙂 — Suzanne
Pleased you enjoyed them Patricia & Happy Sunday!
Great quote by Cool Hand Luke, Cindy, and the classic story of love spurned. I suppose its comforting in a way to know that we share this situation with the animal kingdom!! Enjoy your travels.
Yes. Most of us cannot look back on our adolescent behavior with anything but embarrassment! 😉
True, true. 🙂
Aren’t they great – your photos tell an interesting story
I am happy you enjoyed these big guys and thank you Diana~
Hahahaha! Your commentary is awesome, as are the photos! I’ve often thought that being a female elephant seal must be one of the worst things to be. Poor things. Thanks for making me laugh, Cindy! <3
Thank you for making me smile with such a lovely comment and Happy Sunday my friend~ <3
Life as an elephant seal must be challenging. You have caught their expressions perfectly Cindy!
I would find my own island and stay there. Forever. Course I am a human and I would like to do the exact same thing!
<3 learning through your photos…now I know a little more about elephant seals 🙂
It’ll be handy if you ever get asked about the mating behavior of elephant seals at a cocktail party.
wunderschön wieder, eine gute Woche wünsche ich bei allem, was du machst
Vielen Dank fur Ihre Nachdenklichkeit und Jubel fur Sie!
schönen Dienstag wünsche ich
Great photos! Everybody has to get in there two cents these days don’t they?
You are most welcome & yes they do!
They are funny looking animals.
Try again another day.
They are kinda cute, in a big way 🙂 Lovely shots, Cindy!
Everything about them is yuge!
I want one!!!!!! <3
Do you have a really BIG pool??????
Great pics as usual Cindy. Love the way you put them in perspective with your text. Also, thanks for passing by my blog.
Thank you and I love your photos and your blog!
Fabulous photos, and love your captions Cindy. 🙂 <3
Thanks my friend, it’s a good thing I speak elephant seal.
I know. From all your wonderful photos, many from the animal kingdom, I’m thinking you could be Dr. DoLittle 🙂 🙂
The body language sensitivity is something I learned from 30 years of being a psychotherapist. I didn’t expect the same skill set to be so entirely useful in evaluating how and when to approach wild animals. It’s really remarkable. Maybe more psychotherapists should start taking photos of wild animals and hanging around them!
Really, and it makes sense that if you are instinctual to human body language it could work with animals too. But I think you have a gift in that department. 🙂
I read it with people too! It sucks at cocktail parties, makes it seem like work!!! 😉 😉
Wow what an amazing post Cindy – dont know how I missed it. He does look apologetic and she quite fed up – you captured their frustrations and emotions perfectly!
They are pretty obvious! It surprises me how much emotion wild animals express through their body language. I wasn’t expecting it. They certainly have a range of feelings.
Yes, clearly they do – take dogs for instance, they get so attached to their owners that they stop eating in their absence…it’s we who are unable to understand their language and emotions
Viens je t’emmène dans un monde de rêves
Viens avec moi au pays de l’amitié
Ou seul ce petit monde est loi
Un monde de paix
Il se cache au fond de ton cœur
Dans un monde de merveilles
Qui brille la nuit à l’orée du ciel
Tu y trouveras des perles rares
Celle ou nous avons été ami ou amie pour la première fois
Quelle belle histoire entre nous
C’est ainsi que le verbe aimer existe
Je t’écris ces quelques mots avec tendresse
Je te les offre du fond du cœur
Je te souhaite soit une belle soirée soit une belle journée
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
Fabulous photographs by Cindy Knoke of the Peidras Blancas elephant seals… The mating game is not easy when you are a seal…
Ah, thank you Sally. Human mating behavior can be quite problematic too, but female elephant seals have it worse~
Not kidding Cindy.. not much opportunity to say no… xx
It is quite disturbing to witness mating when the female clearly doesn’t want it. I avoid visiting during mating season.
So amazing, I absolutely love your by lines! Thank you Cindy!
Thank you more for such a lovely comment & cheers to you my friend~
Cheers Cindy, lovely blog!
“A failure to communicate …” can describe so many things today, lol. Who knew you can also apply it to elephant seals. 🙂
It unfortunately is quite relevant today isn’t it!
He looks so forlorn in that last picture 😊
Yes,struck out once again!
Oh, my. What a life for a female. Great photographs, though. I love the close-ups. Great for studying little details, like the eyes. Awwww. Thanks for sharing, Cindy. <3 🙂
Wild animal and wild bird eyes fascinate me. They reveal sentient creatures! Cheers to you my friend~ <3
I do believe that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Animals have one too. I swear by my cats. <3 <3 <3
I fully agree with you! <3 <3
Thank you for caring about these amazing creatures my friend and for being sensitive about the plight of the poor females~ <3
Haha! I enjoyed your captioning. Fabulous photos.
I am happy you enjoyed & cheers to you my friend~ <3
OMG Women the world over. 🙂
Sad isn’t it~
There is some malevolent biology at work. Humans have to overcome it, harness, use it for better not worse.
We need to do something that is for sure because it is getting worse.
Wonderful series, Cindy. Your title intrigued me. 🙂
I am glad you were intrigued and thank you for letting me know! <3
So happy you enjoyed & cheers to you~
Thank you for the like Cindy. 🙂
Reblogged this on SUSANNE LEIST.
Thank you Cindy. 🙂
Thank you Cindy. 🙂
Adorable images 😊.
Ahh, your kindness is so appreciated!
I liked this sensitive side on the whole mating ritual of these lumbering huge elephant seals. Their eyes and “nozzles” are so precious, Cindy! <3
They are endearing, which is why I keep coming back to watch them!
You have such a gentle, caring and generous spirit to check them out as well as sharing the views with those of us who may not be able to see these incredible creatures, Cindy.
Visa versa 2UX2 my dear friend Robin & virtual hugs to you too!
Oh, I am absorbing this warm comment and virtual hugs included, Cindy!