Elephant Seals!

By Laura & Maya

Elephant seals

Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina) are named after their huge nose of the adult males, which is used to make loud roaring noises , especialy during the mating season. This animal is the largest seal in the world. Elephant seals are mammals and are supurb swimmers and divers. Did you know a southern Elephant seal can dive over 4921 feet ( 1500 metres ) .

Habitat

Southern Elephant seals are found in the Antarctic and Subantarctic waters.

They only come ashore to breed and the rest of the time is spent at sea.

When they are on land the seals are usually found lying on sandy beaches or small rocks.

While males typically look for food in Antarctica the females travel further afield and can be found as far north as the equator.

Diet and Feeding

Elephant seals migrate south to Antarctica, after breeding or sheding, to feed on squid and fish at the edge of the sea-ice.

They travel long distances to their hunting areas. Females hunt in more open areas, such as off the Antarctic shelf within the pack ice, or near the Antarctic Polar Front Zone. Hunting areas can be several thousand kilometres away from their breeding islands.

Breeding

Elephants seals breed in a groups called harems.

They breed on the ice in spring, from late September to early November. Females give birth to a single pup which is fed 3–4 weeks after birth. During this time the female spends the entire time on the ice with the pup.

During the breeding season the female mates with the male. The male plays no part in bringing up the pup, and the group disbands once the pup is fed.

Fast facts

*The species was hunted almost extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries and, on South Georgia their blubber was rendered into oil as late as 1964.

*Males are fully grown by their eighth year.

*A pup leaves the beach about 3-8 weeks later to begin the process of learning to find food.

Thank you for listening