Elephant Seals

posted in: Let's celebrate | 43

Have you ever stood next to an Elephant Seal? Well, we did. Let me tell you that it was an absolutely cool experience. Elephant Seals have funny noses and this is how they got their name. They use their nose to amplify a roar that can be heard 1 mile away. Now we got pretty close to them and while they usually don’t attack people we still needed to be careful because they can race across almost 10 miles per hour. The males weigh 2 1/2 to 4 tons and are 14 to16 feet long. While Elephant Seals spend most of their life in the water, they do come out on land to give birth, nurse their pups, and to breed.

We went to Ano Nuevo State Reserve to see Elephant Seals up close. Males arrive first and they usually arrive towards the beginning of December. Females arrive towards the end of December and will give birth to one pup 3 to 6 days after she arrives. She will nurse for 25 to 28 days and while she nurses she will not eat anything. Males fast usually for three months. Did you know that Elephant Seals milk is made up of 55% fat? Wow, no wonder they get so big so fast.

The picture below shows two bottles one representing 5% fat (Woman’s milk while nursing ) and the other one 55% fat (Elephant Seals milk while nursing).

Females usually mate 24 days after giving birth to their pup and the fertilized egg will not implant for another 4 months (this process is called “delayed implantation”).

You can reserve your tour at http://anonuevo.reserveamerica.com/ or call 1-800-444-4445.



Majority of Elephants Seals’ anatomy is blubber which is a thick layer of fat. Blubber stores energy to keep them warm and this is why they are able to swim and live in such cold waters.

Since Elephant Seals are Pinnipeds (have a fin and foot) that means that they molt (shed their hairs) all at once each year. Each year Elephant Seals come back on land during the spring and summer months to molt. The females come in April and the bulls come in July so they miss each other during molting season.

Elephant Seals have a large amount of blood and this is why they are able to hold their breath under water for 100 minutes and dive 1,550 m beneath the ocean’s surface.


Hands on Learning

We decided to create a “life size” Elephant Seal using paper, glue, and magazines. We traced a 16 foot long Elephant Seal out onto paper and filled it with magazine strips. Wow are Elephant Seals large.


Elizabeth’s and Eve’s dresses are from http://www.theprincessandthefrock.com/

The Brooke Tunic in Electric blue is from http://www.evystree.com

Charcoal blanket is from http://www.houseofjude.ca/

Thank you for reading our post. We share a new post every Thursday at 8pm Pacific Time.

Have you ever seen an Elephant Seal before?

43 Responses

  1. Rojielyn

    what an awesome experience! wanna try it too!

  2. SOOOOO fun! Love this post!

  3. What awesome pictures!! This looks like a great lesson and a great time!

  4. What an amazing experience. I absolutely love your blog. It looks like y’all had loads of fun while learning. That is the best way to learn.

  5. Wow! What a fun experience! Sounds like you guys learned a lot and I did too! “Delayed implantation”?!! That’s crazy cool!

  6. Looks like a really amazing experience, wow!

  7. Amazing! You’re so lucky to live near them, although we all live near something amazing in nature.

  8. Wow what an incredible experience! I love the follow-up activity as well. Such a great opportunity to make the learning relevant to their own lives.

  9. What a neat experience! I’m sure your kids loved it

  10. Awesome! I haven’t really had close encounters with animals like this, and it’s good that kids experience these as early as they could.

  11. The amount of fat in elephant seal milk is crazy! I didn’t know milk could have that much fat! The photos of the adorable elephant seals are fabulous! What a cool experience!

  12. Oh my gosh! This is so cool! I can’t tell you how much I love animal adventures. What a great great learning adventure. I love everything having to do with animals and I think I am definitely passing that down to my kiddos.

  13. What an awesome experience. I had no idea their milk fat content was SO high! That’s insane!

  14. So cool that you were able to learn and see these up close and personal!

  15. I love the pictures and the info!!!! And the experience of being so close to them must have been so thrilling. If I think about my little one’s reaction in front of a dog I can only imagine her in front of these giant creatures LOL

  16. Such interesting info. That’s neat that the male and female groups don’t travel together and that they shred their hair all at once.

  17. What a super interesting post! I can’t believe you stood right next to one, I’d be too scared no matter how safe they said it was, lol.

  18. First off, what an amazing experience. Second off, wow! How big they are. Thanks for sharing the info! I love learning new things.

  19. Oh wow what a great experience that was! I love the pictures as well as the art project you created with your kids. I have never been that close to a wild animal before!

  20. What a wonderful educational experience. We home school and my daughter is very much into marine biology, so this would have been the coolest thing ever!

  21. How awesome! I think Elephant Seals are so gorgeous, I would love to get that up close and personal!

  22. What a fun experience – I would love for my kiddos to see something like this! How fun!

  23. This is such a cool experience for your kids. You’ve created a memorable moment for them. Thank you for sharing.

  24. That is so cool!!! I loved the pictures you shared. That seems like such a great experience.

  25. What a cool activity! Elephant seals are adorable. I love that you incorporated so many learning and craft activities with the kids. I bet they had a blast!

  26. Oh my god I can’t believe you’ve seen them so up close! And the baby one!!!! The baby one is so bloody adorable! It must have been a wonderful day out! xx

  27. I think seals are adorable. This looks like such a great experience for your children!

  28. Robin Rue

    This looks like it was so much fun! I would love to see an elephant seal in person.

  29. What a cool experience! My kids would love to do this. And the fat content in the milk is crazy! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Such a cool experience! I love how you incorporated learning in such a creative, hands on way.

  31. That is so much fun! I love finding new and educational things to do like this. Seeing wildlife up close and personal makes you appreciate it so much more. They have an incredible ability to hold their breath!

  32. Oh wow, what a wonderful experience! That’s once in a lifetime for us living in Alabama. Not elephant seals here! 🙂

  33. What an informative post! I live in Oregon and we have a lot of seals. I stayed in a hotel a couple of years ago right on the water and we got to see them up close.

  34. These guys are so cute! What a fun day! I love the picture of all of them lounging on the shore!

  35. How amazing is that! I haven’t seen one up close like that, what a wonderful experience for your kids – and you as well!

  36. Wow, that is absolutely amazing! These photos are great

  37. Oh wow what a wonderful experience! I think I’m a little jealous ; )

  38. My 3 year old would love to see that! it’s so cool that you got the opportunity to see that in person. Love the video of it!

  39. You guys had an amazing experience. Why are they so freaking cute…omg too adorable!!!

  40. What an incredible opportunity for you and your family to get so close to such beautiful creatures. I never knew much about elephant seals so I found this super interesting.

  41. I have never seen an elephant seal before, but they’re so adorable. What a fun experience!

  42. this is very cool. they look like gentle giants! the pictures are amazing

  43. Wow, that’s such a lovely thrilling experience with an elephant seal. Lovely pictures of the awesome time you’ve had!

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