what is a baby elephant seal called
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what is a baby elephant seal called,
A baby seal is called a pup! Seals’ lives are generally broken into four different cycles. Baby seals are called pups and are considered to be pups from birth until they’re weaned at around 1 year old.
The next stage of their lives is the young seal age. The young seal is now on their own to learn to swim and how to catch food to survive. Many young seals lose around half their body weight while they’re in the process of learning how to hunt for themselves.
Next up is the adolescent seal phase. In this phase, the seal has learned how to catch its food and how to swim. So, all that’s left to do is pack on the pounds again to make it through the cold, harsh winter.
The final phase of the cycle is the adult seal. Seals are considered to be adults by age 6 and they live to be around 30 years old depending on whether they’re male or female.
Seals share the “pup” name with many other animals, such as dogs, sloths, beavers, and bats.
What are elephant seal pups called?
Newborn elephant seals have a black coat, which they molt, or shed, when they wean from their mothers at about 1 month old. The mothers do not eat during this period and after about a month, they return to sea to feed. Meanwhile, the now-300-pound weaned pups, called “weaners,” remain on rookery beaches.
Are baby elephant seals called calves?
The word calf can mean either a baby cow or bull, or the area of the back of your leg between your ankle and knee. You can use the word to mean a baby whale, baby elephant, camel, bison, elk, giraffe, gnu, hippopotamus, moose, ox, reindeer, rhinoceros, and yak.
What is a male elephant seal called?
Elephant seals take their name from the large proboscis of the adult male (bull), reminiscent of an elephant’s trunk, and considered a secondary sexual characteristic. The bull’s proboscis is used in producing extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season.
Northern Elephant Seals
Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) can be found in California and Baja California, though they prefer to frequent offshore islands rather than the North American mainland.
Southern Elephant Seals
Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) live in sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters that feature brutally cold conditions but are rich in the fish, squid, and other marine foods these seals enjoy. elephant seals breed on land but spend their winters in the frigid Antarctic waters near the Antarctic pack ice.
elephants are the largest of all seals. Males can be over 20 feet long and weigh up to 8,800 pounds. But these massive pinnipeds aren’t called elephant seals because of their size. They take their name from their trunklike inflatable snouts.
Elephant seals migrate in search of food, spending months at sea and often diving deep to forage. They return to their rookeries in winter to breed and give birth. Though both male and female elephant seals spend time at sea, their migration routes and feeding habits differ: Males follow a more consistent route while females vary their routes in pursuit of moving prey.
Elephant seals were aggressively hunted for their oil, and their numbers were once reduced to the brink of extinction. Fortunately, populations have rebounded under legal protections.
Behavior and Diet
Northern elephant seals’ diet primarily consists of squid and fishes, but they also consume rays and sharks.
Northern elephant seals spend about 9 months of the year in the ocean. Most of this time is underwater, diving to depths of about 1,000 to 2,500 feet for 20 to 30 minute intervals with only short breaks at the surface. They are rarely seen out at sea for this reason. While on land, they prefer sandy beaches.
Northern elephant seals fast during the mating season and can lose up to 36 percent of their body weight during this time. When molting occurs, they shed their short, dense fur along with large patches of old skin. Molting takes 4 to 5 weeks to complete.
Where They Live
Northern elephant seals are found in the eastern and central North Pacific Ocean. Though they range as far north as Alaska, they typically breed and give birth in the Channel Islands off California or Baja California in Mexico, primarily on offshore islands from December to March. Males feed near the eastern Aleutian Islands and in the Gulf of Alaska, and females feed farther south, in the offshore waters of Washington and Oregon. Adults return to land between March and August to molt, with males returning later than females. Adults return to their feeding areas again between the spring/summer molt and the winter breeding season.
How long does an Elephant Seal live?
The life span of elephant seals may differ between the subspecies, in the case of the southern elephant seals, the adult males can live up to 14 years of age, while the females can live up to 20 years old. In the case of northern elephant seals, it is a bit difficult to calculate their exact life span as they spend most of the year in waters and hardly visit land as there is no possibility to know the natural cause of death, but on average you can see them living up to 11 to 13 years old.
There has been a long-term, annual decline of 5-11% of elephant seals at most colonies in the southern oceans. The reason for this is unknown, the two major theories being:
- decline is related to commercial exploitation of prey stocks; and
- the population is returning to pre-sealing levels after having recovered to abnormally high levels.
The total population was estimated at 607,000 in 1990 compared to 768,000 in 1985.
The New Zealand breeding stock is small; the Campbell Island population was numbered at 417 in the late 1940s and has since declined by 97%.
How do they reproduce?
Talking about the reproduction process in both the kind of seals, first of fall there is a very minimal difference, so mostly it is explained together. They are polygynous in nature, which means only one male elephant seal completes the process of mating with other females in a very large group during the season. There is a dominant male in each colony that controls the breeding accessibility to the females of the group. On the other hand, less dominant adult males have to continuously fight to gain the position of mating, the dominant ones are called elephant seal bulls, and they fight for the females. The process of breeding start when the males throw a flipper around the side of a female to grab her neck in his teeth and begin copulation.
Resistance by females results in the males putting their body weight on her. The breeding season may change in the case of both the northern elephant seal and southern elephant seal as northern ones come out for breeding and birth-giving during the time of December to March. The gestation period of females lasts around 19 days after giving birth and they become sexually mature at age two years old. In the case of southern elephant seals, the breeding occurs once a year which comes at the end of September, but usually lasts until mid-to-late October and during this time females are in estrus and are most fertile. The weight of male and female pups differ during birth as males weigh around 27 to 53 pounds and females weigh around 24 to 50 pounds at birth.
Baby Seals Can Grow Up To Be The Size Of A Car
Baby seals pack on the pounds rapidly since their mother’s milk is five to six times richer in nutrients than a mother cow’s milk. There are over 30 species of seals, with most of them being rather large.
However, there are some exceptions, like the Galapagos Fur Seal,
which only grows to be 3 feet long and weighs around 65 pounds. The largest species of seal is the Southern Elephant Seal and this seal can grow up to 19 feet long and weigh up to 8,800 pounds,
which is two times heavier than your typical sedan!
They’re hot-blooded lovers
Well, the boys are anyway. The girls, not so much. An elephant seal breeding ground, or rookery, is no place for the faint-hearted. For the males, being the biggest, baddest and most belligerent will get you the girls. And the girls, it’s do your duty for the species and then get the heck out of there. And the pups,
it’s grow as fast as possible and try not to get squished in the midst of all the drama around you.
Breeding season for northern elephant seals runs from December to March, primarily on specific beaches off Mexico and southern California. Males arrive first, full of testosterone-fueled pugnacity. Inflating their long noses and making clap-threats (see #2), they bluster,
chase, chest-butt and sometimes all-out fight each other to settle who’s boss. Then the females arrive. Within days each female gives birth to a squawking 90-lb pup (conceived the year before).
As the beachmaster male vigorously defends his harem from ever-hopeful lurking males,
the pups nurse for about a month, gaining about 10 lb a day. Once mom’s job is done, she heads for the water to leave—and that’s usually when the male makes his move. Breeding season is a radical weight loss program for both sexes. Males lose up to a third of their body weight, females up to half.
The roly-poly weaner pups, meanwhile, enjoy their newly acquired blubber until hunger drives them into the water one or two months later. We see two or three pups every year at Race Rocks,
which is the northernmost known breeding rookery for elephant seals.