IT'S IN THE GRUNTS AND GROWLS
Researcher from UC Santa Cruz's Institute of Marine Sciences have been spending time with west coast elephant seals, trying to learn they how communicate. The researchers have recorded the snorts, snarls, grunts and growls that sound a bit like belches in a barrel.
They figure the huge mammals settle disputes over breeding rights and prevent fights by their language code. Their calls can reach 130 decibels, as loud as a jackhammer as pointed out by Nadia Drake of the San Jose Mercury News. Each male has a unique sound or call. Drake reports the UC Santa Cruz researchers believe much of the language is used to settle disputes before coming to bloody and brutal battle.
There is a large colony of elephant seals on the central coast, just a few miles north of Cambria. Visitors from around the globe trek to the viewing area to watch the massive and blubbery beach dwellers, who are often comical. They wallow, snort at each other, mate, give birth and simply nap, flipping sand with fins that are uncannily like human hands.
Here you can see a few pups, newly born elephant seals. They get about six weeks of attention and nursing from their mother, then they are on their own. The mother's interest turns to mating, and once that is done, she swims off to feeding grounds in the north Pacific. The pup then becomes a "weaner" as they are called and has to learn to swim on his or her own. When nature dictates, they swim off singularly to either the male or female feeding grounds. Those who survive, come back to the same beach, year after year, to molt, mate and mostly nap and snore.
AND NOW ABOUT ANOTHER NAPPER
See you down the trail.