How Did The Elephant Seal Get Its Name?

How Did The Elephant Seal Get Its Name? 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.

Why do they call them elephant seals? Elephant seals take their name from the large proboscis of the adult male (bull), which resembles an elephant’s trunk. Elephant seals were hunted to the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century.

Who named the elephant seal? The southern elephant seal was one of the many species originally described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name of Phoca leonina. John Edward Gray established the genus Mirounga in 1827.

What’s the largest seal in the world? The southern elephant seal is a true seal and is the largest pinniped (seal or sea lion) and carnivoran (hairy carnivore) in the world. 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).

How Did The Elephant Seal Get Its Name – Related Questions

What is the difference between a seal and an elephant seal?

True seals, such as elephant seals, differ from other pinnipeds in two easy-to-recognize ways. When it comes to scratching, it’s the opposite, true seals use their fore flippers while sea lions use their rear flippers. And in general, true seals have more blubber and are more streamlined.

What are elephant seal babies called?

Sea elephants, as these seals are sometimes called, give birth in late winter to a single pup and nurse it for approximately a month. While suckling their young, females do not eat—both mother and child live off the energy stored in ample reserves of her blubber.

Why does an elephant seal have a big nose?

Elephant seals aren’t named for their size. Rather, the males develop noses that kind of look like elephants’ trunks. They inflate their noses in order to scare other males away — to mate, they have to fight for dominance. Elephant seals are deep divers — which is why they have those big, soulful eyes.

Are walruses related to elephant seals?

Odobenidae consists of only one living member: the modern walrus. This animal is easily distinguished from other extant pinnipeds by its larger size (exceeded only by the elephant seals), nearly hairless skin and long upper canines, known as tusks. Phocids are known as true or “earless” seals.

Are elephant seals bigger than walruses?

Among the most amazing of pinnipeds are the elephant seals. These seals are famous for being big. They are the biggest of pinnipeds – bigger even than walruses – there being a record of a giant male Southern elephant seal that was between 6.5 and 6.8 m long and weighed over 4000 kg (Carwardine 1995).

Where does the elephant seal live?

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.

Are walruses a type of seal?

Walrus are the largest pinniped. Seals, sea lions, and walruses belong to a group of marine mammals called pinnipeds, referring to their flippered feet. Seals (true seals or earless seals) have no external ear flaps. Walrus are the largest pinnipeds, with some males registering over 3,000 pounds.

How many elephant seals are there?

Today, the northern elephant seal population has rebounded to approximately the size it was before hunting. It’s estimated that there are 150,000 individuals, with 124,000 in California waters.

Is a sea lion the same as a seal?

Sea lions (left) are brown, bark loudly, “walk” on land using their large flippers and have visible ear flaps. Seals have small flippers, wriggle on their bellies on land, and lack visible ear flaps. Secondly, sea lions have small flaps for outer ears. The “earless” or “true” seals lack external ears altogether.

Why do male and female elephant seals look different?

Adult male elephant seals belonging to the northern species tend to have a larger proboscis, and thick chest area with a red coloration compared to the southern species. Females do not have the large proboscis and can be distinguished between species by looking at their nose characteristics.

Do elephant seals have flippers?

Elephant Seal Body Form. Elephant seals are thick bodied seals with rather short front flippers with protruding nails. Their hind flippers cannot rotate forward, so, when they are on land, they must drag their hind limbs as they lumber across the rocks or beaches.

What happened to the northern elephant seal?

They were thought to be extinct in 1884 until a remnant population of eight individuals was discovered on Guadalupe Island in 1892 by a Smithsonian expedition, who promptly killed several for their collections. The elephant seals managed to survive, and were finally protected by the Mexican government in 1922.

How long can elephant seals stay underwater?

But champion divers, such as elephant seals, can hold their breath for about two hours. “It was known that they rely on internal oxygen stores when they’re down there,” said Michael Berenbrink, a zoologist at the University of Liverpool, England, who specializes in how animals function.

Can elephant seals have twins?

Elephant seals give birth only to a single pup, never twins. Any mother with more than one pup has taken on some other mother’s pup. Mothers don’t eat for that month while they are nursing the pup. They make milk by metabolizing their blubber.

Do elephant seals eat penguins?

Penguins are frequently killed and eaten by predators like fur seals, leopard seals, elephant seals, and other ground and marine predators.

Where was the person who this seal is named after born?

Hofmeyr is a researcher at Bayworld, a tourist destination in the city of Port Elizabeth. He got involved in October after the female seal that was given the name Zelda appeared on the beach at Cape Recife and gave birth to Ziggy.

How fast are elephant seals?

How fast can southern elephant seals travel? Southern elephant seals can move along the ground at about 5 kph (3 mph) while on land. While swimming, southern elephant seals move at speeds around 5 – 10 kph (3 – 6 mph).

Which is bigger sea lion or walrus?

Walrus is the only living species in the Odobenus genus. The tusk and stiff whiskers are the main features that differentiate a walrus from a sea lion. Walrus is also bigger than sea lions. Though walrus shares certain physical features with sea lions, it does not have the external ear as that of sea lions.

Did seals evolve from dogs?

“Dogs and seals are not in the same family, however, and are not closely related. The family that compromises seals, Pinnipedia, split from other caniforms around 50 million years ago.” For one thing, dogs use their four legs to move around.

Can a human outrun an elephant seal?

Seals are preyed upon by sharks, killer whales, and humans. Elephant seals spend about 20 percent of their lives on land and about 80 percent of their time in the ocean. Although they are aquatic animals, seals on sand can outrun humans. The seals have large abdominal sinuses to hold oxygenated blood.

How did elephant seals evolve?

They evolved from land animals, either otters or bears. Look at an elephant seal skull in the FES office, or ask to see a picture carried by the docents on the bluff.