Archives

Los Toros Del Mar~

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Northern bull elephant seals weigh up to 5000 pounds and reach up to 16 feet in length! Their Southern counterparts are larger.
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In addition to their size, they are quite bullish in behavior, fighting constantly with other males,

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and forcing themselves on often quite unwilling females,

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who are much smaller than they are.

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On shore they dominate large harems and defend them from other males.
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Male Northern Elephant Seals spend eight months alone at sea. They forage in deep dives 24 hours a day, often at the bottom of the ocean, where other predators are scarce.
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The deepest recorded bull elephant dive was 5788 feet and the longest recorded continuous dive was just over two hours on one breath!

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California male elephant seals forage at the edge of the continental shelf, all the way to the Aleutian islands. Orcas and sharks predate on them and approximately one in three males are killed each year, mainly by orcas.
Cheers to you from the bullish, and amazing, male elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery in California~

Source (and for more information) check out: http://www.elephantseal.org/

We Otta Be Ottahs~

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Cuz life just floats by.
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Sea Otters live in close communities called rafts. Can you see the babies floating on their mamas? Hint: they are the brown fuzzy bumps with little faces resting on their mama’s bellies? (CLick to enlarge for better optics).
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Like all communities with time on their hands, gossip can be a problem.
“If you say this one more time, Edna, I swear, I will cover my ears!”
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A new human like me, is easily noticed.
“Who are you odd human, and why are you staring at me?”
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Discussing the merits of tonight’s seafood dining options, Earle makes the best suggestion.

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Otter newlyweds with their new pup float happily together.

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Single mom’s seem quite content on their own.
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While bachelor & bachelorette otters can float anywhere they want and may be the happiest otters of all.
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Eventually babies get fed up with resting on top of mom, and just float off on their own looking for adventure.

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Rarely, an otter just can’t keep going along lazily with the group, he has to break out, be an individual, kick his web-footed heels to the sky!
Cheers to you from the happily floating (and kicking) Morro Bay Sea Otters in California~

Note: Sea Otters were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800’s for their fur. Populations are slowly recovering, but otters are still an endangered species and are threatened by fish net entanglement, oil spills, and boat strikes.

Ellie Seal Pups~

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Piedras Blancas in California has a thriving rookery of Northern Elephant Seals, a sub-species of the largest seals in the world reaching up to 5000 pounds and 16 feet in length. Pups are born here mostly in the month of January.

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Births peak mid January.
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Over 5000 births occur annually here. Some nice mamas like this one, feed pups other than their own!

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Elephant seals nurse for about a month, during this time, mothers stay with pups continuously and do not return to to the sea to feed until weaning is complete.

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Elephant Seal milk is the richest milk in the mammalian world, which it needs to be since elephant seals grow so rapidly. This cheeky seagull pecked this little pup causing him to unlatch during nursing, releasing milk, which the seagull tried to drink!

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Mama obviously did not approve!
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There are still newborns in the rookery now, identifiable by their neonatal folds.

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Maternal infant bonds are evident and strong! Mamas can be seen frequently kissing pups.
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Northern Elephant Seal populations were hunted to the brink of extinction and by the late 1800’s there were under 100 of them left worldwide. The species has made a remarkable come-back due to conservation efforts and marine mammal protections.

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Cheers to you from the friendly ellie-pups at Piedras Blancas Rookery~

To see how big these little guys will grow check out my post from a year ago about the bulls:
https://cindyknoke.com/tag/northern-bull-elephant-seal-mating-behavior/