We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Elephant Seals?

Michael Anissimov
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Elephant seals are large semi-aquatic mammals in suborder Pinnipedia (pinnipeds) known for their large snouts (from which they get their name) and tremendous bulk. There are two species of elephant seal: the Southern Elephant Seal, found on various southern islands and the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina, and the Northern Elephant Seal, found on the Pacific coast of North America, all the way to Mexico.

Male elephant seals of both species grow to 16 ft (5 m) in length, with a weight of 6,000 lb (3,000 kg), while the females are about 60% in length and 30% in weight. During breeding season, males acquire harems of 40 to 50 females and do battle over them. The species' tremendous noses are used to make loud roaring noises, and aside from mere posturing, some battles are to the death. Elephant seals exhibit significant gender differentiation, with males clearly distinguishable from females.

Elephant seals are both the largest of any type of seal and the largest living member of order Carnivora, which includes bears, dogs, lions, walruses, and many other familiar mammalian carnivores. Though elephant seals live relatively close to many populated coasts, they are rarely seen by people there, preferring to frequent remote islands. Like other seals, elephant seals consume skates, rays, octopuses, eels, fish, and squid, but supplement this diet even with small sharks.

Elephant seals spend 80% of their lives in the water, and can hold their breath for 80 minutes, the longest of any mammal except for whales. The average dive is 300 to 600 meters (1000 - 2000 ft), but the deepest recorded is 2000 m (6,500 ft, more than a mile), deep into regions without light. Adapted for deep dives in cold water, elephant seals are surrounded by a layer of blubber several inches thick, which is mostly responsible for their large bulk.

Elephant seals have special adaptations to have a large volume of blood to store oxygen for long dives. Their abdomens contain large blood-holding cavities, and their muscles are specially capable of holding blood. In addition, elephant seals have a larger proportion of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in their blood than most other animals.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.