Visit one of the rookeries during the winter birthing and breeding season for an amazing nature experience. Elephant seals dive to 1,550 m (5,090 ft) beneath the ocean's surface (the deepest recorded dive of an elephant seal is 2,388 m (7,835 ft) by a southern elephant seal, while the record for the northern elephant seal is 1,735 m (5,692 ft)). If you see just the nose of a seal sticking above the water, it’s in a resting position called “bottling.” While on land they are skittish and frighten easily. Fatalities can also be due to malnutrition, domoic acid poisoning (caused by a harmful algal bloom), cancer, entanglement in fishing debris and even gunshot wounds. Their only natural predators are orcas and great white sharks. This is why they are more … Sea Lion Island is located 120 km southwest of Stanley and at 9.05km2 it is the largest of the Sea Lion Island Group, which also includes Rum, Brandy, Whiskey and the Sea Lion Easterly Islands. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. The "seals" you may see performing at marine parks are often sea lions. They can have one pup per year after a 9-month gestation. Large groups rest closely packed together on land, even sprawled over one another. Seals and sea lions are marine mammals called pinnipeds that differ in physical characteristics and adaptations. Crescent City, CA The average depth of their dives is about 300 to 600 m (1,000 to 2,000 ft), typically for around 20 minutes for females and 60 … Older animals rarely appear at Point Lobos. significant source of mortality in seals and sea lions. Their solid color coats range from dark to golden brown. Piedras Blancas rookery, the largest rookery, is a little over 2 hours drive to the south on the Big Sur coastline near San Simeon. Males remain there for about one month and then return to California and as far north as British Columbia. Let’s sort out the taxonomy first. Look carefully and you will find many seals here year round. New Zealand examples include the leopard seal and southern elephant seal. Grey seals leopard seals elephant seals harp seals and ringed seals are among the 19 species of true seals. The Marine Mammal Center rescues them, nurses them back to health and then releases them to the ocean. Elephant seals haul out to molt at different times based on age and gender, so you can always see some elephant seals at the rookeries. elephant seal (top) and harbor seal. Elephant Seals. Nowadays, sighting a Steller is noteworthy. After weaning, the previously devoted mom leaves the pup on its own. If you look closely at an elephant seal you notice black whiskers instead of the harbor seal’s white whiskers. Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are the quiet marine mammals resting on near shore rocks along the Point Lobos shoreline. True seals are also known as earless seals, or simply "seals". The adult male, with its large elongated nose, is enormous at over 2 tons and up to 16 feet; females are significantly smaller. The group of marine mammals consisting of seals, sea lions, and walruses is known as the Pinnipeds, (from "pinna" meaning "feather" + "pes" meaning "foot" = "feather-footed"). Stellers are much larger and lighter in color than California sea lions, ranging from light tan to reddish brown. Though their bodies can appear chubby, seals are generally smaller and more aquadynamic than sea lions. There is a small rookery on Ano Nuevo Island, located offshore from Ano Nuevo State Park (about a 2 hour drive north of Point Lobos). Adult males are significantly larger than females. Sea lions, on the other hand, are able to "walk" on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies. The other resident eared seal is the Steller, or Northern, sea lion (Eumetopias jubata), a federally threatened species. The northern elephant seal is the second largest seal in the world, after the southern elephant seal. They can live up to 20 years (males) and up to 30 years (females). 95531. Breeding age females remain near the rookeries all year and give birth in June or July. Elephant seals use their teeth during fighting to rake the necks of o… Video by NOAA Fisheries. For a comparison of some of the most common marine mammals found in the Pacific Northwest (gray whales and orcas, harbor seals and sea lions, Dalls porpoise and white-sided dolphin, sea otters and land mammal river otters), please watch Marine Mammals Two by Two . 1111 Second Street At the rookery the male tries to attract as many females as possible to his harem. Respectful observation of seals is especially important during the pupping season. At the same time, their hind flippers angle backward and don't rotate. Swim with their front flippers. Elephant seals, on the other hand, are uniformly tan colored all over, and seen only rarely within the parks. There may be a small breeding colony of Stellers using near shore rocks in RNSP. This causes differences between the two in locomotion when on land: seals move forward by caterpillar-like hitching movements; sea lions use their hind legs to walk or even gallop across land. Most of the California sea lions in RNSP are adult and subadult males that migrate north after the breeding season in southern California. All together the Sea Lion Island population seems to be pretty healthy. New Zealand examples are the New Zealand fur seal and New Zealand sea lion. Small intestine lengths range from 8 times (California sea lion) to 25 times (elephant seal) the body length. are brown, bark loudly, “walk” on land using their large flippers and have visible ear flaps. The population of California sea lions is considered stable. The southern elephant seal belongs to the ‘true seal’ family. Bulls grow up to 20ft and weigh up to four tons, and use their bulk to batter rivals in mating contests. Fall and winter is the most likely time for this occasional visitor to appear mixed in among the California sea lions on the Sea Lion Rocks. Oddly enough fur seals are not seals at all. Under the EPBC Act all seals and sea lions occurring within Australian waters are listed as marine species (EPBC Act 1999; section 248). Both a sea lion and a seal or walrus are carnivorous mammals belonging to the pinniped superfamily, so they have many common characteristics, but also others that differentiate them. The pinniped suborder has 33 species in three families. Harbor seals are quite common and may be seen lounging on flat-topped near shore rocks, or hauled out sandy beaches, primarily around the Redwood Creek estuary. They can eat all kinds of large prey - including tuna, rays, other sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, sea otters and birds. Sea lions are very social animals. But seals and sea lions belong to … In and around RNSP, there are two seal species to be found, the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirotris). The southern elephant seal is a true seal and is the largest pinniped (seal or sea lion) and carnivoran (hairy carnivore) in the world. The seals you see today could be the same seals you see on your next visit to Point Lobos. Elephant seals spend up to 80% of their lives in the ocean. They have spotted coats in a variety of shades from white or silver-gray to dark brown. Source: Sea Lion Eating a Leopard Shark, SD Expeditions. Gestation can be preceded by up to 3 months of delayed implantation. Their large eyes and sensitive whiskers help locate prey. Jul 9, 2014 - Explore Hanna Shirley's board "Elephant seal" on Pinterest. Seals and sea lions share adaptations for living in the sea—including blubber, flippers, and streamlined bodies. This characteristic defines their group as “true seals.”  Males tend to be slightly larger than females and can reach up to 250 pounds. Female seals mature at 3-4 years. The average length is 5 - 6 feet. They have no external ear flaps, just ear holes. Whether obvious or hidden, physical attributes allow northern elephant seals to excel in the deep marine environment and to coexist with other seals and sea lions in the eastern North Pacific. Sea otters are smaller than seals and sea lions, have stubby front paws and rest by floating on their back. Adult males are enormous – at least six times larger than polar bears and nearly twice the size of the next largest seal (the northern elephant seal). When watching seals it’s important to avoid loud noises and to maintain a distance that does not disturb them. Subadults might also haul out on our beaches to rest. They are graceful, curious and speedy swimmers, propelled by the webbed hind flipper. Sea lions also hunt together. Then it’s time to start the cycle again. May congregate in larger groups than true seals. Adult male Stellers have a bulky build and a very thick neck with longer fur that resembles a lion's mane. An elephant seal flips sand on itself to help regulate body temperature. Sand flipping is another clue. First thing's first: To see the elephant seals at San Simeon, you have to know just where to go. Their most outstanding feature is the inflatable proboscis (snout) which reaches full development in adult males, and is thought to increase the effectiveness of the bull elephant seal's roar. Adult males leave our central coast in early summer headed for the Channel Islands in southern California or for Mexico. When first noticed, the flipper might be confused with the dorsal (back) fin of a whale or shark. Although they feed in the sea, they surface for air. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can "walk" on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. You will be amazed to see this large animal on top of the highest points. Males 5 years and older develop a bony bump on top of their skull called a sagittal crest. They can rotate under the sea lion's body and support it, enabling the sea lion to "walk" with the flippers on land. One must travel somewhere else along the California coast to see a spectacular adult male elephant seal, with its long proboscis, or nose, for which the species is named. They have a blunt face and a boxy, bear-like head. Instead they flop along on their bellies. Usually there's only one subadult animal at a time hauled out on a sandy beach undergoing its annual molt. Males reach lengths of nearly 20 feet (6 m) and weights of more than 8000 pounds (3700 kg). The Phocidae, or family group to which the true seals belong, are believed to have descended from a terrestrial weasel-like ancestor, while the Otariidae, or sea lion family group, are thought to have descended from a terrestrial bear-like ancestor. When the hunt for food leads them to species desired by humans, such as salmon, fishermen sometimes consider the sea lions as competition. Steller males are massive, the largest of the eared seals, weighing in at 1,200 lbs (0.5 metric ton) or greater. The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) is an occasional visitor to Point Lobos. The noisy, barking California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is the most conspicuous marine mammal at Point Lobos. They can also sleep while in water. This causes differences between the two in locomotion when on land: seals move forward by caterpillar-like hitching movements; sea lions use their hind legs to walk or even gallop across land. Both have ear flaps and both are noisy, although an experienced listener can distinguish between the two “languages.” Searching from Sea Lion Point for a Steller requires binoculars in order to see the distinction between the two species. Although still nursing, the females are ready to mate within 4 weeks of giving birth. In addition, sea lions have a loud bark and walk on their large rear flippers versus seals more wriggle on their belly and have smaller rear flippers. Seals and sea lions are both mammals. The first difference between the seals and sea lions that we will discuss is the shape of their bodies and front fore flippers. In and around Redwood National and State Parks, the most commonly seen eared seal is the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Sea Lions . Since the 1960's, the population of Steller sea lions has declined by at least 50%. The sea lions at Point Lobos are mostly adult males and juveniles of both sexes. They spend 80% of their life at sea foraging, only coming ashore to molt (shed hair and skin) and to mate for adults, or to rest for subadults. 866.338.7227  |  80 Garden Court #106 Monterey, CA  93940   Site is maintained by the Point Lobos Foundation ©2018   Site designed by Forest Design LLC. Gestation is about 9 months and can be preceded by a 3-month delayed implantation period. Unlike earless seals, their hind flippers can turn forward, and they are better able to walk, and even run, on their flippers. When it comes to scratching, it's the opposite, true seals use their fore flippers while sea lions use their rear flippers. The average dive lasts less than 10 minutes and is relatively shallow, less than 300 feet. Sea Lion Island is the most southerly inhabited island in the Falkland archipelago at 52.43 south and 59.1 west. Mating occurs under water. Their bodies are long and slender, and their heads appear to be almost too large for their serpent-like bodies. A pair of binoculars will enhance the viewing experience. Males can reach 650 pounds and 8 feet in length. The seal gets its name from its great size and the large proboscis of the adult males, which is used to make extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season. They are day-sleepers, frequently misunderstood as lazy if you don't realize they are nocturnal hunters. The length of the intestine may be an adaptation to frequent deep diving, as the increased volume of the digestive tract serves as an extended storage compartment for … But seals and sea lions are in different taxonomical families owing to some key anatomical differences. It's even possible that a seal might to try to reproduce with a sea lion. They are often seen bobbing in the surf, checking out the shoreline. This makes them fast in the water but basic belly crawlers on terra firma. Sea Lion Point Trail offers a direct view to the Sea Lion Rocks offshore. The Friends of the Elephant Seal are available to answer questions at the viewing areas from 10am to 4pm daily. Harbor Seals Southern Sea Otters . In the not too distant past, elephant seals were highly endangered. But this was something different entirely. Fur seals, actually in the sea lion group, having extremely long hind flippers. They spend about half their time on land and half in water. When not congregating together to rest, they can be seen swimming past the shoreline, sometimes jumping out of the water as they move along. Monk seals, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, are also categorized as true seals. Quiet and shy, harbor seals can be seen year-round resting on rocks just offshore. The name “Point Lobos” is derived from what the Spanish explorers called this area - “Punta de los Lobos Marinos" which means the "point of the sea wolves.” Since sea lions bark while on land and offshore rocks, their barking was probably an aid to navigation for the first explorers, warning them of rocks in the fog. Sea Otters . They are uniformly dark brown and vocalize with the notable sea lion "bark". They often float together on the water’s surface in rafts with one or both flippers raised out of the water. They are dark grey immediately after moulting, fading through the year to a rusty greyish brown. The two species might be confused with one another because they share many physical characteristics. When did YOU fall in love with Point Lobos. Sea lions can live 20-30 years, with females tending to live longer than males. They are really a type of sea lion. Mating season is June through August. These destinations are the breeding grounds. Steller sea lions have golden-colored fur with darker extremities, and instead of the "bark" of the California sea lion, Stellers vocalize by growling or "bellowing". While at sea they lead a solitary life and cover long distances in search of food. Females are much smaller. Despite the similarities of outward appearance, true seals and sea lions have some noticeable differences, due to convergent evolution. The adult male, with its large elongated nose, is enormous at over 2 tons and up to 16 feet; females are significantly smaller. Within this super family, the three are divided into three families: the otaridos (sea lions), the phocidae (seals) and the Odobenidae (walruses). Adult males establish and defend breeding territories and form harems. It breeds on subantarctic islands and is the largest of all pinnipeds, with males reaching 2-4 t and females almost 1 t. An adult male’s blubber can be 10 cm thick and in commercial sealing days one individual could yield up to 400 L of oil. 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