eco-tourism, Humor, Nature, Photos, Tasmania, Travel, wilderness
Everywhere I looked elephant seals were piled up like heaps of exhausted Sumo wrestlers. Sometimes it was easy to overlook them–mistaking them for sand hills. The penguins must have thought so too, as they paraded amongst them willy-nilly.
The seals are not a threat to the penguins on land, it seems. But as clumsy as they appear on land, in the water these giant slugs-of-the-sea swim like super-sonic submarines. At the moment they’re moulting, which makes them very itchy and a bit grumpy. Mostly they just sleep, scratch, snore, fart, and occasionally flip a bit of sand over themselves. This goes on from about mid-November to April, which I suppose explains their need for a hefty supply of blubber, as they don’t go into the water while they are moulting.
Southern elephant seals are larger than their northern cousins. Males commonly weigh up to three tons, and can measure five meters or more in length. Females are much smaller, being less than two tons and three meters. The girls can dive for twenty minutes at a time, whereas the guys can go for an hour or more. But specifications aside, what I find so interesting about the bull elephant seals is their faces. They all just seem like huge blobs of blubber, until you see the face. I know, the scientists among you will be rolling your eyes at my anthropomorphic descriptions, but how can you not make something of these expressions?
They seem to have the same ability to look totally hedonistic as cats do. They can look:
They were just as silly looking in groups–piles, really. One of the favorite formations, when they weren’t just stacked up randomly, was lined up, top to tail, in a row.
I haven’t said much about the juveniles and females. The big bulls are just so…well, male. But here are a few shots of some young males play-fighting. . . all a part of their training to become alpha males when they grow up.
They can mate at 4 or 5 years of age, but can’t become alpha males until around 8 years old.
Not as lovey-dovey as it looks!
My, what big eyes you have…
Now, I have one more ‘face’ I want to share, and I want to know who he reminds you of… Just add your nomination in the comments section at the top.
It was entirely surreal; walking amongst these strange creatures and being surrounded by busy little penguins, all at the same time. Surreal, maybe. But also very memorable. I’d go back tomorrow. MM
PS: This is who you have said he reminds you of (so far):
- Pierre Trudeau
- Henry Kissinger
- Robert DeNiro
- a young Jabba the Hutt
Any more suggestions?
An enjoyable post and great pictures!
Great shots! And love the humorous commentary through the herd.
Great pictures. Love them all.
enjoyed the photos, their faces tells it all
some of the pictures are really cute
great blog !
Wow, great pictures and really enjoyable.
Congrats on FP!!
Thanks for the wonderful post.
I really do think that last one looks like Robert de Niro. Hahaha. I bet he would enjoy that photo, actually.
I love the personality of animals. Wouldn’t you love to know what they are thinking sometimes?
they are fascinating ! i think, there is no ugly in looks or behavior in the animal kingdom. you may have seen those pictures where a sea elephant attacks the cars in NZ?
(awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7KsXwO6Ymw) i can’t find where you took those pictures, but they’re are really good!
also, congratulations to capturing the odd way people are selling stable manure (here too) lol !
Was this during the jet boat cruise at Eaglehawk Neck near the Candle Stick? I went to Tassie last Christmas. Unfortunately My Dad’s laptop onto which I uploaded all my pics prior to Cradle Mountain is not working ]: They are such funny creatures. They live the life, don’t they? moulting and basking in the sun…. That face kind of looks a bit like a pug’s….
Tracy Z said:
they all look so cute! and love your descriptions too
Tank to info.
Hehe they are so cute and funny 🙂
funny photos and video!!
I like penguin..
Haha! Fun post. I enjoyed looking at the pictures of their faces. Reminds me of the time I saw some of these creatures. Didn’t get to see them up close though. There were so many of them and they were all piled up in rows. I found one amusing as I saw him making sort of a sand angel.
Evie Garone said:
The animals do seem to have moods & personalities…how amusing! I think I would like to go visit and see for myself…
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I have seen these creatures before, but not up close, so I really enjoyed the photos.
(I don’t know who the last one looks like, but he has a lot of personality, doesn’t he?)
I normally don’t enjoy blogs with tons of pictures, but this one is a keeper! They look like big, ole, dumb, lazy dogs.
Trinity River said:
They do like big fat cats. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed.
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Last pic? A young Jabba the Hutt
Wonderful photos and a fun read! They have so much personality. Thanks for sharing!
they’re so cute!
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First time seals are elaborated by some one.They would be so big and ugly to watch from near.
Penguins are cute and seem innocent.
Great post, MM! I don’t think the photos would have been quite as much fun without your personification of the blubbery lumps.
And the final guy? He looks like he recognizes you but can’t quite place your face.
Happy Chinese New Year…. rabbit! keep your eggs sunny side up and your salad Ceasar (not tossed)
I like these pictures.
The pictures of these hilarious animals are just great…
Great post with great pictures. And i love the expressions, they’r humorous
Wow! This was a fun read and the photos are amazing. I also learned a bit about the elephant seals.
“The girls can dive for twenty minutes at a time, whereas the guys can go for an hour or more. But specifications aside, what I find so interesting about the bull elephant seals is their faces. They all just seem like huge blobs of blubber, until you see the face.”
And those faces you provided us are incredible.
Haha, what ridiculous creatures. Love ’em.
Calogero Mira said:
Wonderful photos of animals.
I Made You A Mixtape said:
OMG- I did not even realize those were elephant seals in the first few photos- they looked so huge I thought they were rocks! I would love to see them up-close!
Gbenga Awomodu said:
Awesome pictures you’ve got here. This is definitely a great post. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
Lakia Gordon said:
The second picture looks like he’s smiling for the camera lol
Great photos and video! Congrats and good luck!
I misread blubber as bieber in the title…I hope I don’t have bieber-fever.
i really need to go to Australia.
what about the coral reefs?
My initial response was Robert de Niro.. I can kinda see his serious face in the face of this seal.
Very nice pictures with nice explainations about the two lovely animals which I never knew one of them
is it weird that i find these hideously ugly and really beautiful at the same time?
Aww! They are adorable! I wish I could be there in real life. 😀 And your blog header is awesome, by the way.
The Hook said:
Awesome post! Nature is endlessly interesting.
Loved this! Great pictures and thanks for sharing. I’ve never seen these before!
The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife said:
It’s fun to see these creatures up close. While beautiful in their own right, sometimes there’s a lot going on in the expressions!
J Roycroft said:
Enjoyed the photos. Congrats on FP
Mikalee Byerman said:
They’re just like ET: so ugly, that they’re, in fact, adorable!
Great pix. 🙂