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Ano Nuevo
State Reserve

Elephant Seal Guided Walking Tours

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Elephant Seals "Mating"

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S.F. Bay Area — No. California
California Coastside
California Coastside Attractions
Año Nuevo State Reserve
Elephant Seal Breeding Season "Mating" & "Birthing"

 

Elephant Seals are amazing animals. During the Guided Walking Tours at Año Nuevo State Reserve, there's plenty of time to take pictures and watch them as they interact with each other.

Depending on the time of year, you may see them "Mating," "Birthing," "Playing," "Molting" ...or just basking in the sun :)



Elephant Seal Mating & Birthing
Early December thru' March
"Mating & Birthing" Season takes place early December thru' March, peaking in mid-February — this is the best time of year to take an Elephant Seal Tour.

Beginning mid-December to early February, pregnant females come ashore to have pups — with births reaching a peak by late January.

Pups weigh between 40-60 lbs when born and grow to 200 lbs in four weeks — super wiener pups have been known to grow up to 500 lbs! Mothers nurse their pups for about a month before mating and departing back to sea.



Mating Peaks on Valentine's Day
The Alpha Bulls (males) arrive around Thanksgiving and the females arrive early December-January. Mating activity peaks by mid-February (Valentine's Day).

Distinctive Mating Sounds
During this time, the Alpha Bulls make very distinctive and LOUD guttural roaring sounds that are almost indescribable — it's like a cross between a "revving motorboat engine" and a "deep clicking in an oil drum." And you can hear these sounds for miles.

Aggressive Alpha Bulls
and Female Harems

The bulls can be very aggressive as they battle each other for mating dominance. They build a harem of females (some as large as 50) and mate while defending them from the other bulls — they can scare other bulls just by a "look" or a "sound." After watching them mate, all I can say is that I'm glad I'm not an Elephant Seal!

By mid-March, most of the adults have returned to the sea. During March and April, hundreds of weaned pups remain behind to rest in the sand dunes, laze in the sun, and learn to swim in the tide pools before venturing out to sea to find food. During July and August, the males come ashore to molt (shed their skins).

Note: Due to their size and the fact that they can overheat in warm weather, Elephant Seals are more active in cooler (wetter) weather.

Elephant Seal Guided Tours are educational and fun...for kids and adults alike. Be sure to make your tour reservations well in advance — they are very popular and sell out quickly, especially during peak times.

Guided Tour Tickets are $5 per person (December-March).
Note: Free self-guided walks are available (April-November).


NOTE: Unlike San Francisco's Pier 39 Sea Lions which grow to between 350-1,000 lbs, these Elephant Seals can weigh between 3,000-5,000 lbs each and reach up to 16 feet.

According to Wikipedia.com, Male Elephant Seals reach a length of
18 ft (5.5 m) and a weight of 5,000 lbs (2,270 kg), which are much larger than the females that usually measure about 10 ft (3 m) in length.

The largest known Male Elephant Seal measured 30 ft (6.7 m) in length and weighed 7,490 lbs (3400 kg).

Female Elephant Seals have an average life expectancy of about 20 years, and can give birth starting at the age of 3–4. Males reach maturity at five years, but generally don't achieve alpha status until the age of 8, with the prime breeding years being between ages 9 and 12. The average life expectancy of a Male Elephant seal is 14 years.

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Guided Walking Tours
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Guided Walking Tours and Pics

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Elephant Seal Pictures
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Elephant Seal Skull & Bone Pics
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Skull & Bone Pictures

Ano Nuevo State Reserve
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The bulls can be very aggressive as they battle each other for mating dominance. Photo shows two male elephant seals on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Elephant Seals Mating on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

The bulls can be very aggressive as they battle each other for mating dominance. Photo shows two male elephant seals on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

The bulls can be very aggressive as they battle each other for mating dominance. They build a harem of females - some as large as 50. Photo shows alpha male bull in the middle of a large female harem on Ano Nuevo State Reserve, California

Elephant Seals Mating on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Even Elephant Seals like Hugs :)

Elephant Seals Mating

Elephant Seals Mating on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Elephant Seals Mating on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Alpha Bulls make very distinctive and LOUD guttural roaring sounds

Elephant Seals during Molting Season on Ano Neuvo State Reserve, California

Cute Elephant Seal Pup on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Two Elephant Seals communicating with each other on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Aggressive Male Elephant Seal during Mating Season at Ano Nuevo State Reserve. During this time, they make very loud roaring sounds - it's like a revving motorboat engine...and you can hear the sound for miles

Elephant Seals Mating on the beach at Ano Nuevo State Reserve

Close-up of Elephant Seal Fins


 

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