Either of the two largest pinniped species: the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), of coastal islands off California and Baja California, or the southern elephant seal (M. leonina), of sub-Antarctic regions. Both are gregarious earless seals. The male has an inflatable, trunklike snout. The northern species is yellowish or gray-brown, the southern species blue-gray. Males of both species reach a length of about 21 ft (6.5 m) and a weight of about 7,780 lbs (3,530 kg) and are much larger than the females. Elephant seals feed on fish and squid or other cephalopods. During the breeding season, bulls fight to establish territories along beaches and to acquire harems of up to 40 cows.
Elephant seal bull (Mirounga)—Anthony Mercieca/Root Resources
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on elephant seal, visit Britannica.com.
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