Thursday, July 14, 2011

Molting and Sparring Adult Male Elephant Seals

The hugely popular giant seafaring mammals, the adult male elephant seals, are once again coming to the local beaches on the central coast of California. Reaching 15 or so feet in length and weighing in the neighborhood of 3+ tons, they are convening here mainly to rest and molt, with the inevitable bouts of dominance sparring interrupting their noisy snores and snorts.

Click here to see video of these molting giants.

However, these giants of the sea do not seem as well-fed this year as the recently departed adult females. For many, their skin seems too big and wrinkled instead of being plumped out by several inches of insulating blubber. Since many appear to be on the skinnier side, they'll have to broaden their foraging hunt after completing their molting in order to be at full strength and weight for the intense fights for the rights to a piece of beach territory in December.

In contrast, some of the well-fed younger adult males can be seen eagerly sparring on land or in the water amongst these currently rather lethargic heavy-weight leviathans.

Here and there, an early-arrived yearling can already be spotted snoozing on the sandy beaches.

Click here to see plenty of photos of large males doing what they do best.

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