Elephant seals can get absolutely, monstrously huge, and when they fight, it can be a bloodfest, with chunks of meat and blubber flying.
Elephant seals earn their name, there is little doubt about that. What with the males' elongated, floppy nose and their massive body size, they do somewhat mimic the marine version of an elephant.
At close to twenty feet long and weighing four tons in the largest specimens, these behemoths are an intimidating sight. Add to those gargantuan proportions an elongated, puffy nose on the bulls and you've got a massive slug-like Snuffleupagus of a beast.
But rather than being benign and friendly like the big muppet, elephant seals are equipped with massive canines and a bad disposition, making them a critter whose personal space you want to give a wide berth.
Males fight for dominance and for the right to mate with as many female elephant seals as they can. Size is everything with these animals, and the biggest seals usually become the "beach masters" for their bit of territory.
By using their rubbery noses to make bellowing sounds and slashing at each other with their hand-length canines, battling seals size each other up and effectively wage war with one another. The vibrating sound that comes from their noses is on the same level of the decibel meter as a chainsaw. Incredible!
An elephant seal beach master has the right to mate with as many females as he can, potentially fathering hundreds of seal pups in a season. Their ability to mate usually only lasts a couple of seasons, so they seem to want to try to get in as much nookie as they can during their brief tenure as a beach master.
Only about one in ten males is ever successful in their battles for dominance and beach master status. Most will live and die as virgins.
To get an idea of just how brutal and bloody elephant seal fights can be, just watch the video below.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.
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