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Common Name: Elephant Seal

Scientific Name: Mirounga angustirostris


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Pinnipedia

Genus: Mirounga

Species: M. angustirostris


The scientific name for the elephant seal is Mirounga agustrostris. Males can grow up to 20ft, females can grow up to 10ft. The coloration is gray-brown and they have large, square heads. On the chest they have protective shields for when they fight. Also, a folded trunk nose that is gray-brown. They can be found in rocky shores on islands.


There are now 700,000 left in the world. The elephant seal is the largest and heaviest seal named for the trunk-like extension of the snout in males. An elephant seal’s role on the food chain is near the top. Their diet consists of: squid, fish and occasionally, penguin. They compete with other elephant seals for food and females to mate with. Usually mating season is in early August to middle September.


They have very few predators. Such as the killer whale. Elephant seals invade being eaten by making loud noises to frighten predators. The exquisite seals are named for their massive size. They can dive deeper than 3200 feet! When diving down so far is accomplished by lowering their heart rate by as low as one heart beat per minute. Perhaps the most, largest attraction for human visitors to Año Nuevo State Reserve is the large colony of northern elephant seals that assembles here each winter. These large animals spend most of their lives at sea, coming ashore only to molt, give birth, and mate.


Author: Alyssa S.

Published: 04/2009



Photo Credit: Photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird,_San_Simeon2.jpg






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