Elephant Seals – UPSC Prelims

Elephant Seals:
  • Elephant seals are the largest seals on earth.
  • They get their name from the prominent noses of the males that resemble an elephant’s trunk.
  • Features: Male Elephant seals grow to over 13 feet long and weigh up to 4,500 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, measuring up to 10 feet in length and weighing in at 1,500 pounds.
  • Diet: Elephant seals eat rays, skates, fish, squid, and sharks that live near the bottom of the ocean.
  • Species: There are two species of elephant seals:
    • Northern Elephant Seals:
      • Northern elephant seals are found across the Pacific coast of the United States, Canada and Mexico.
      • They generally breed and give birth in California and Baja California. That too usually on offshore islands from December to March. They fast during mating season, losing perhaps a third of their body weight.
    • Southern Elephant Seals:
      • Southern elephant seals are the largest of all seals. They live in sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters that feature brutally cold conditions.
      • Southern elephant seals breed on land but spend their winters in the frigid Antarctic waters near the Antarctic pack ice.

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