Sea Otters . All together the Sea Lion Island population seems to be pretty healthy. Although still nursing, the females are ready to mate within 4 weeks of giving birth. A typical dive for the sea lion is a few minutes long and down to 300 feet. Adult males leave our central coast in early summer headed for the Channel Islands in southern California or for Mexico. Jul 9, 2014 - Explore Hanna Shirley's board "Elephant seal" on Pinterest. Males gather near rookeries to compete with other males and attract females by slapping the water with their flippers. This does not help the already confused general public distinguish between seals and sea lions. The average dive lasts less than 10 minutes and is relatively shallow, less than 300 feet. They have spotted coats in a variety of shades from white or silver-gray to dark brown. The largest concentration of Steller rookeries is in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. They are the deepest diving pinniped known with an average dive to 1800 feet and a maximum recorded depth of over 5000 feet. Swim with their front flippers. Males 5 years and older develop a bony bump on top of their skull called a sagittal crest. They often float together on the water’s surface in rafts with one or both flippers raised out of the water. Elephant seals haul out to molt at different times based on age and gender, so you can always see some elephant seals at the rookeries. Unfortunately seals can’t out-swim their only predators - sharks and orcas. This behavior is called “porpoising.” They are fast swimmers (reaching up to 25 mph), using the front flippers for propulsion and the hind flippers to steer. Harbor seals don’t migrate far from home. Despite the similarities of outward appearance, true seals and sea lions have some noticeable differences, due to convergent evolution. This is the southernmost breeding area for the species. There are other, somewhat subtle, differences between the front flippers of the two groups, but the hind flipper differences are noticeable. The southern elephant seal belongs to the ‘true seal’ family. Harbor seals are quite common and may be seen lounging on flat-topped near shore rocks, or hauled out sandy beaches, primarily around the Redwood Creek estuary. Elephant Seals. They can rotate under the sea lion's body and support it, enabling the sea lion to "walk" with the flippers on land. The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) is an occasional visitor to Point Lobos. Ano Nuevo State Park is about 2 hours north of Point Lobos. Leopard seals are the third largest seal in the world Female leopard seals, the larger of the two sexes, can grow up to 590 kg (1,300 pounds) and 3.8m meters (10 feet) long. The occasional sightings at Point Lobos might include a recently weaned pup who hasn’t learned to successfully forage and is suffering from malnutrition. Due to this decline, Steller sea lions are now listed as a federally threatened species. Less frequently an adult male might visit Point Lobos. Subadults might also haul out on our beaches to rest. In the not too distant past, elephant seals were highly endangered. Mike Baird . The Friends of the Elephant Seal are available to answer questions at the viewing areas from 10am to 4pm daily. Respectful observation of seals is especially important during the pupping season. Nowadays, sighting a Steller is noteworthy. Though their bodies can appear chubby, seals are generally smaller and more aquadynamic than sea lions. The length of the intestine may be an adaptation to frequent deep diving, as the increased volume of the digestive tract serves as an extended storage compartment for … Besides, when swimming, the seal mainly uses the hind flippers as thrusters; the sea lion swims with its front fins, with hind flippers acting as rudders. Gestation is about 9 months and can be preceded by a 3-month delayed implantation period. Sea Lion Island is the most southerly inhabited island in the Falkland archipelago at 52.43 south and 59.1 west. Visit one of the rookeries during the winter birthing and breeding season for an amazing nature experience. Pups are nursed on mom’s rich milk and double their weight before weaning at approximately 4 weeks. The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) is an occasional visitor to Point Lobos. Getting There. When not congregating together to rest, they can be seen swimming past the shoreline, sometimes jumping out of the water as they move along. Males can grow to 11 feet in length and weigh almost 2,500 pounds. 866.338.7227  |  80 Garden Court #106 Monterey, CA  93940   Site is maintained by the Point Lobos Foundation ©2018   Site designed by Forest Design LLC. Sea Lion Island is located 120 km southwest of Stanley and at 9.05km2 it is the largest of the Sea Lion Island Group, which also includes Rum, Brandy, Whiskey and the Sea Lion Easterly Islands. Gestation can be preceded by up to 3 months of delayed implantation. New Zealand examples include the leopard seal and southern elephant seal. They are graceful, curious and speedy swimmers, propelled by the webbed hind flipper. You will be amazed to see this large animal on top of the highest points. True seals are termed "earless" because they lack an external ear flap, whereas in "eared" seals or sea lions an external ear flap is visible. Stellers are much larger and lighter in color than California sea lions, ranging from light tan to reddish brown. In seals, the hind flippers extend directly behind the body, and are not capable of rotation unlike the hind flippers of sea lions that are longer and may be rotated toward the front of the body. The first difference between the seals and sea lions that we will discuss is the shape of their bodies and front fore flippers. Much more agile in their ocean environment, an elephant seal moves on land with considerable effort, by using its front flippers and belly. They have no external ear flaps, just ear holes. They can hold their breath for more than 100 minutes – longer than any other noncetaceanmammal. Fall and winter is the most likely time for this occasional visitor to appear mixed in among the California sea lions on the Sea Lion Rocks. An elephant seal flips sand on itself to help regulate body temperature. Adult male Stellers have a bulky build and a very thick neck with longer fur that resembles a lion's mane. Adult males establish and defend breeding territories and form harems. About Elephant Seals Seals on the sand. Mike Baird . Harbor seals come in a variety of colors from almost pure white to mottled gray or brown, but usually some form of color patterning is visible. This makes them fast in the water but basic belly crawlers on terra firma. The noisy, barking California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is the most conspicuous marine mammal at Point Lobos. Fur seals, actually in the sea lion group, having extremely long hind flippers. Elephant seals use their teeth during fighting to rake the necks of o… You can view this natural wonder in April and May at two primary locations within Point Lobos - Whalers Cove beach and China Cove beach. They are really a type of sea lion. Harbor seals . What Are the Differences Between Seals and Sea Lions? When seals and sea lions share our shores, we need to give them space, especially mothers with pups. Also, sea lions are just plain noisy, whereas seals are a bit quieter. These animals may be seen hauled out on off shore rocks, and occasionally on sandy beaches. Their large eyes and sensitive whiskers help locate prey. Although they feed in the sea, they surface for air. Harbor seals are torpedo-shaped and have short flippers. Sea lions, on the other hand, are able to "walk" on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies. For almost guaranteed elephant seal viewing, drive a couple hours to one of the nearby mainland rookeries. The adult male, with its large elongated nose, is enormous at over 2 tons and up to 16 feet; females are significantly smaller. Since the 1960's, the population of Steller sea lions has declined by at least 50%. They use their front flippers similarly to sea lions otariids and leopard seal females are larger than males. The seal gets its name from its great size and the large proboscis of the adult males, which is used to make extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season. Both a sea lion and a seal or walrus are carnivorous mammals belonging to the pinniped superfamily, so they have many common characteristics, but also others that differentiate them. This causes differences between the two in locomotion when on land: seals move forward by caterpillar-like hitching movements; sea lions use their hind legs to walk or even gallop across land. Under the EPBC Act all seals and sea lions occurring within Australian waters are listed as marine species (EPBC Act 1999; section 248). The Marine Mammal Center rescues them, nurses them back to health and then releases them to the ocean. The southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) is the largest species of seal in the world. When did YOU fall in love with Point Lobos. Monk seals, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, are also categorized as true seals. Small intestine lengths range from 8 times (California sea lion) to 25 times (elephant seal) the body length. Video by NOAA Fisheries. They can live up to 20 years (males) and up to 30 years (females). But seals and sea lions are in different taxonomical families owing to some key anatomical differences. The pinniped suborder has 33 species in three families. The quiet behavior and camouflage coloration can make them easy to miss. Instead they flop along on their bellies. They spend 80% of their life at sea foraging, only coming ashore to molt (shed hair and skin) and to mate for adults, or to rest for subadults. Both have ear flaps and both are noisy, although an experienced listener can distinguish between the two “languages.” Searching from Sea Lion Point for a Steller requires binoculars in order to see the distinction between the two species. Mating season is June through August. The long front and rotating hind flippers enable them to “walk” on land and to climb - whether it be on rocks, buoys, or boats in a marina. They spend about half their time on land and half in water. 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