S.F. Bay Area — No. California
California Coastside Attractions
Año Nuevo State Reserve
Elephant Seal Breeding
Season "Mating" &
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 :)
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
Beginning mid-December to early February, pregnant
females come ashore to have pups — with births reaching
a peak by late January.
Pups (photo above) 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
about a month before mating and departing back to sea.
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
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.
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
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.
and Female Harems
The bulls can be very aggressive as they battle each other for mating dominance.
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
Guided Walking Tours
Click Here for Elephant Seal
Guided Walking Tours and Pics
Walking Tour Tips / Recommended
Click here for Walking Tour Tips,
Recommended Dress, Photography Tips and more...
Elephant Seal Pictures
Click Here for Elephant Seal Pics
Elephant Seal Skull & Bone
Click Here for Elephant
Skull & Bone Pictures
Ano Nuevo State Reserve
Back to main Ano Nuevo State Reserve page
Back to main Attractions
page to select another fun attraction
in Half Moon Bay/Coastside