Southern elephant seal

The largest member of the order Carnivora, adult males, can be six times larger than polar bears!

Alain RICCI

Southern elephant seals are greyish-brown and have thick blubber under their skin. Adult males have a trunk-like nose to amplify their sound, especially during the breeding season. Their eyes are round, large, and black, with a high density of low-light pigment to spot prey under the sea. Their hind limbs are in a tail to help them propel in water but are unfit for locomotion on the land. Hence, they use their pectoral fins to support and move their bodies.

Only the most dominant and the strongest male can mate with the females and defend its harem. The cruel reality is almost 90% of males die before they can develop a harem.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Indian ocean
200,000
Official estimate
LC
2014
Pacific ocean
75,000
Official estimate
LC
2014
Atlantic Ocean
400,000
Official estimate
LC
2014
South Atlantic
Antarctic ocean
2014
Angola
2014
Vagrant
Antarctica
2014
Argentina
2014
Australia
2014
Macquarie Is.
Bouvet Island
2014
Brazil
2014
Vagrant
Chile
2014
Vagrant
Ecuador
2014
Vagrant
Falkland Islands
2014
Malvinas
French So. Terr
2014
Heard & McDonald
2014
Mauritius
2014
Vagrant
Mozambique
2014
Vagrant
Namibia
2014
Vagrant
New Zealand
2014
Antipodean Is.
Oman
2014
Vagrant
Peru
2014
Vagrant
Saint Helena
2014
South Africa
2014
South Georgia
2014
Uruguay
2014
Vagrant

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No