Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Species Account/Mirounga

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Mirounga (Elephant Seal)

Where found: The Northern Elephant Seal, somewhat smaller than its southern relative, ranges over the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Mexico. The Southern Elephant Seal is found in the southern hemisphere on islands such as South Georgia, Macquarie Island, and on the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina in the Peninsula Valdés, which is the fourth largest elephant seal colony in the world and the only growing population.

Description: Elephant seals take their name from the great size of their bodies and the large proboscis of the adult males (bulls) which resembles an elephant's trunk. The bull's proboscis is used in producing extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season. More importantly, however, the nose acts as a sort of rebreather, filled with cavities designed to reabsorb moisture from the animals' exhalations. This is important during the mating season when the male seals rarely leave the beach to feed, and therefore must conserve body moisture, as they have no incoming source of water.


Elephant seals 08-03.JPG