The Northern Elephant Seal or Mirounga Angustirostris is the largest seal in the Northern Hemisphere (second largest in the world after the Southern Elephant Seal). Adult males are 14 to 16 feet in length and 4,000 to 5,000 pounds in weight. The females are much smaller at about 9 to 12 feet and 900 to 1,800 pounds. Pups are 3 to 4 feet long at birth and weigh about 70 pounds.
They get their name from the male’s long nose (or proboscis), which doesn’t start developing until they reach puberty at about five years of age, and isn’t fully developed until they are eight or nine years old.
Elephant Seals spend eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving 1,000 to 5,800 feet deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours, and migrating thousands of miles, twice a year, to their land-based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting, and rest.
One of their rookeries is at Piedras Blancas on the Big Sur coast of California. And this is where we saw them during our drive down the coast. The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery spreads over six miles of shoreline around Point Piedras Blancas on the central coast of California.