Marine Mammal Care Center
Los Angeles

(Miroungaangustirostris)pp4

Northern Elephant Seals are true earless seals. This species is among the largest of all seals, second only to the Southern Elephant Seal.

ORDER:
SUBORDER:
FAMILY:
GENUS:
SPECIES:

Carnivora
Pinnipedia
Phocidae
Mirounga
angustirostris

Adult (Average) Size:

Male: up to 14', 4,400 lbs. Female: up to 10', 1,300 lbs.

Habitat:

Temperate waters; subtropical sandy beaches during breeding and  molting times

Range:

Gulf of Alaska south to Baja California; Breeds on islands from Farollons off California coast south to Benito Island off Baja California. (California rookeries at Ano Nuevo, Pt. Reyes, Big Sur, and Channel Islands)

Migratory Patterns:

Long‑distance seasonal migrations

Social Organization During Breeding:

Colonial; moderate sized to extremely large groups

Mating Behavior:

Polygynous

Sexual Maturity:

Male: 5 years; Female: 2 to 6 years

Mating Season:

Mid‑February

Gestation Period:

11 months (4 months delayed implantation)

Pupping Season:

December to mid‑March (peak pupping season: Late January ‑ early February)

Size at Birth:

3 ‑ 5 ft. (60 - 80 lbs.)

Lactation (Nursing) Period:

22 ‑ 29 days approximate

Usual Diet:

Squid, small sharks, rays and other deep water species

Amount of Food per Day:

Juvenile: 10 lbs. to 12 lbs.; Adults: 50 lbs. to 100 lbs.

Predators:

Orcas and great white sharks

Diving Depth:

Average Dive: 450 ft. Have been recorded to dive to depths of 5,000 ft.

Submersion Times:

They can easily remain submerged for 20 minutes, with a maximum of 119 minutes

Longevity:

Average lifespan for most pinnipeds is estimated to be from 15 to 25 years.  Females generally longer than males.