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Southern elephant seals

Southern elephant seals

Z936/0104

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Credit

DOUG ALLAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DOUG ALLAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina). Female seal with her two-week-old pup, resting on snow. Female (cow) elephant seals lack the trunk-like proboscis found on the males, which gives the seal its name. The southern elephant seal spends 10 months of the year diving to forage for food, which mainly consists of squid. Females can reach up to 3 metres in length and weigh up to 875 kilogrammes. During the breeding season, groups of up to 50 females congregate to form harems. They give birth to one pup that is breast fed for six weeks, but which stays with its mother until it can feed itself. Photographed on Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, British Antarctic Territory.

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