Sunday, November 17, 2013
ELEPHANT SEALS OF SAN SIMEON, CALIFORNIA
Just off highway 1, approximately ten minutes north of San Simeon California, is one of the Largest colonies of Elephant Seals in America. During the month of February, the females spend most of their time on the sand giving birth to the new pups. The best time of year to see this event is mid month as the population is at it's peak. The beach is full of Elephant Seals during this season. The pups weigh 60 – 80 pounds at birth and are 3 - 4 feet long. At this point the new pups are black because they haven't grown their fur yet. The Adult females range from 900 -1800 pounds and are from 9 – 12 feet in length. The males are considerably larger tipping the scales anywhere from 3000 – 5000 pounds and range from 14 to 16 feet in length. Survival rate of the pups in the first year is 37% and by the forth year the rate has decreased to 16%. If they survive the first 4 – 6 years, their life expectancy is approximately 20 years. Weaning of the pups takes about a month. The pups have increased to an astounding 250 – 300 pounds in this first month and have already quadrupled in weight. Female Elephant Seals have grown to full maturity within 6 years while the males continue to grow for a little longer and do not mature quite as quickly as the females.