Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BIG Adult Male Elephant Seals Starting to Show Up


Taking a well-deserved nap

As the Fall Haul-Out heads to its close for this year, a smattering of the large adult male elephants seals can already be seen sleeping and snoring on several of the beaches along the central California coast.

So far, the bloody and sometimes protracted fights for territory have not yet begun. This may in part be due to the fact that these huge males are quite exhausted from their almost continual search for food while at sea and need to sleep so they can recoup their massive strength. Another contributory fact might be that there are so few adult males here this early that territory is not yet an issue.

Quite a few pregnant females can also be observed resting on the beaches along with the remaining sparring sub-adult males as well as more than a few left-over weaners and two- and three-year-old youngsters.

The fur of these youngsters, which has changed to a beautiful golden or pale tan color, will be shed during next year's molting season.

Most of the elephant seals look well-fed this year, and their fur lacks the blemishes of last year. Also, the amount of cookie-cutter shark bites seems less than in time gone by.

As the days in December roll by, more and more adult males will be coming ashore and the showdowns for territory will take place more and more frequently until the pregnant females arrive and start to give birth, with the first births coming maybe as early as the middle of December.

To see more photos, click here.


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