Northern Elephant Seal

Male & Female Northern Elephant Seals
Male & Female Northern Elephant Seals

Male Northern Elephant Seals
Photographer: Mike Baird

Northern Elephant Seal Range Map (West Coast of N America)
Northern Elephant Seal Range Map
(West Coast of N America)
Dark Blue: Breeding Colonies
Light Blue: Non-Breeding Individuals

Male Northern Elephant Seal
Photographer: Mila Zinkova
Latin Name Mirounga angustirostris
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location West Coast of North America
Colour Dark Brown to Light Tan
Length 3.6 - 4.5 m (11.8 - 14.8 ft)
Weight 900 - 2,500 kg (1,980 - 5,510 lbs)
Life Expectancy

10 - 18 Yrs (Wild)

Main Characteristics

Northern Elephant Seals are the second largest pinniped, only southern elephant seals are larger. They have a body length between 3.6 and 4.5 m (11.8 - 14.8 ft) and they weigh between 900 and 2,500 kgs (1,980 - 5,510 lbs). Males are much larger than females.

They get their name from the large, inflatable, trunk-like proboscis that is present in males. They use this to enhance their vocalizations during the breeding season.


Northern Elephant Seals are found in waters off the west coat of North America. They only come ashore to breed and the rest of their time is spent at sea.


Northern Elephant Seals feed upon fish and squid. When foraging their averages dives are between 500 and 600 m (1,640 - 1,970 ft), but they can dive to depths of over 1,500 m (4,920 ft) and stay submerged for over 1 hour.


Northern Elephant Seals breed each year between December and March. After a gestation period of 10 - 12 months a single pup is born weighing approximately 37.5 kgs (82.7 lbs). The pup is weaned after 23 - 27 days. They reach sexual maturity between 2 and 10 years of age.


Predators of Northern Elephant Seals include killer whales and large sharks, such as great white sharks.


Northern Elephant Seals have no subspecies

Interesting Facts

The Northern Elephant Seal is one of two species of elephant seal, the other being the southern elephant seal.

Similar Animals

Southern Elephant Seal


Contact         About         Glossary         Site Map         Privacy Policy

CC 2006 - 2014