Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Battle scars

I'm amazed at the wounds elephant seals can survive. This animal rests on the beach with the evidence of a shark attack healed on her abdomen. the one that attaced her must have been huge. She's at least five feet long, so figure the size of those jaws.
I'm assuming this is a female, based on its size. I can't tell for sure. It might be a young male.

This animal has a big chunk taken out of it shoulder, now healed. It's definitely a male. You can tell by the beginnings of that elephant trunk nose, beginning to develop. Males start growing that at around age five.

The scars are a reminder of what a tough, eat-or-be-eaten world they live in.

Distinctive scars like these help identify individuals to us human observers, though. Otherwise, one elephant seal can look a lot like another. Visitors sometimes say, How come I'm seeing seals swim out and then swim back to the beach? It's difficult to tell whether that's what's happening, though. It's not impossible, but it's more likely that some animals are leaving and others are arriving.

Unless you're an elephant seal, it's hard to tell one from another.

No comments:

Post a Comment