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Creature Feature: the Northern Elephant Seal

Want to learn some fun facts about the northern elephant seal? Keep reading to learn more!



  • This species is the second largest seal, ranking slightly behind the southern elephant seal.

    • Males can weigh up to 4,400 pounds.

    • Females can weigh up to 1,300 pounds.

  • They use their large, inflatable noses to sound vocally threatening to one another.

    • Their nose is referred to as a proboscis.

    • The proboscis hangs over the lower lip by 8 inches.

  • Northern elephant seals have the longest migration out of any mammal at 13,000 miles roundtrip.

  • Males use their necks to fight off other males.

    • Shielding them from harm, their necks prove thick and calloused.

  • These seals consume a diet of squid, fish, rays, sharks, and other creatures.

    • While on land, they survive off their blubber, so they fast.

  • Northern elephant seals spend 9 months of the year in the ocean.

  • Resembling an elephant's trunk, the proboscis gives these seals their signature name: the elephant seals.

  • Males typically live around 13 years, while females typically live around 19 years.

  • Elephant seals typically dive from 400-800 meters below the water’s surface.


Map of northern and southern elephant seal regions:


References:

Diving. Earthguide. (n.d.). Retrieved July 26, 2022, from http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/elephantseals/diving/index.html#:~:text=The%20distinctive%20dive%20pattern,see%20Dive%20Stats%20table%20below).


Fisheries, N. O. A. A. (2022, April 19). Northern Elephant Seal. NOAA. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/northern-elephant-seal


Fun Facts. Friends of the Elephant Seal. (n.d.). Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://elephantseal.org/fun-facts/


U.S. Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Northern Elephant Seal (U.S. National Park Service). National Parks Service. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://www.nps.gov/places/northern-elephant-seal.htm



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