Tag Archives: Southern elephant seal

A Peek at the Hectic Lives of Antarctic Seals

This morning we woke up to find an Antarctic fur seal napping on the rocks about a hundred yards from our front door. It was a welcome surprise—we had seen fur seals on our visit to Livingston Island on January 1, but this was their first visit to Palmer this season. They tend to show up at Palmer each year during late summer, and their appearance is a sign of the season moving on.

Photographer Chris Linder rushed out to catch the furry animal on film, although he didn’t really need to rush. It was still in pretty much the same spot tonight at 9:00 p.m. We’ve now seen the five main Antarctic seal species within just a few miles of Palmer Station—and the main thing we’ve noticed is these animals are good at lounging. Their lives may be hectic under the water, but once they “haul out” on rock or ice, it’s mainly snoring and the occasional scratch of the head. Click through the slideshow to get introduced to each of the five seal species:

A Seal That Isn’t a SealRulers of the Pack IceThe Better to See You With“Nature’s Snakes” A True AntarcticanLoud, Lounging ElephantsA Minor DisagreementWho Goes There?

Here’s a short recording of the group of southern elephant seals that were napping in photo #6 in the slideshow. The background hiss is the sound of the seals breathing in and out as they sleep. From time to time you’ll hear abrupt snorting sounds that are either rude or humorous depending on your point of view.

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