Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Seal with a Big Schnoz

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On the way from Los Angeles to Big Sur many people make a stop in San Simeon at the famous Hearst Castle, but unfortunately many people drive right by the Piedras Blancas rookery just a few miles away. The rookery is home to the Northern Elephant Seal and is one of the best places to spot them on the Pacific Coast. The Elephant Seal was nearly hunted to extinction, but has rebounded very well. The males are very strange looking creatures- they are gigantic and have gigantic proboscis' that resemble an elephant's trunk (hence their name). They actually reminded me a lot of the proboscis monkeys I saw in Borneo. In the winter and early spring they mate and breed in the rookery so you can see a lot of activity. The males fight regularly by bashing their bodies against each other and biting each others necks and torsos, which you can watch in the below video:


The males also make a really loud honking sound to stake their territory which you can listen to in the below video:


For more information on the Elephant Seals of the Central Coast visit the Friends of the Elephant Seals.
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