Southern Elephant Seal
Facts about Southern Elephant Seals. "Scientific name for Southern Elephant Seal is Mirounga leonina". Southern Elephant Seal is one of the largest Antarctic seal. It is a member of the Carnivora family. It has a large proboscis especial the adult female which it uses to make loud roaring noises during the mating season. Seals and sea lions and Walruses are semiaquatic mammals they are all in a group called pinnipeds, meaning "fin-footed". The name Southern Elephant Seal is given due to its great size which is considered to be larger than polar bear.
In order to distinguish Southern and Northern seal, you will have to look closely. The Southern Elephant Seal bends it backs more strongly when fighting. The males are heavier than the females and an amazing fact is that they are five to six times heavier. The bulls weigh 4850 to 8818 (2200 to 4000 kg) and are 13 3/4 to 19 feet (4.2 to 5.8 meters) long. Their female counterparts weigh 880 to 1984 pounds (400 to 900 kg) and are 8 1/2 to 10 feet (2.6 to 3 meters) long.
Southern elephant seals can stay for longer periods on land. Just like the Northern seal the male arrives in the breeding colonies earlier to fight for the harem. The stronger Southern Elephant Seals establish harems with dozens of females where as the weak males don’t get any harem. However, they copulate with the dominant male’s.
The pups are born quickly during the breeding season. After birth a newborn Southern Elephant Seal yaps and the mother responds with a louder moan. The pups are born weighing about 88 pounds (40 kg) and by the time they are weaned they have attained 290 pounds (130 kg). The Southern Elephant Seal pup begin to suckle just immediately after their birth and lactation lasts for 23 days. During this period the mother fasts while taking care of its pups.
Once the Southern Elephant Seal pups are weaned they stay in nurseries until they lose the birth coats. After that they enter the water to practice swimming and they start with the ponds.
Their feeding patterns are characterized by their diving habits. The Southern Elephant Seal are believed to dive as deep as 1310 to 3280 feet (400 to 1,000 meters). Some records have shown that they can even go as deep as 7550 feet (2300 meters). The Southern Elephant Seal can take as much as 20 minutes in water to hunt for their prey and it is believed that there are the best breeds that take long in water without going out to breathe. They surpass the cetaceans and this is because they have increased oxygen storage and reduced oxygen consumption.
The Southern Elephant Seal main food is squid and fish.