Pinnipeds (i.e. seals, sea lions, and walruses) are considered amphibious marine mammals, meaning they spend significant parts of their life on land. For example, this elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), hauled out on a popular beach in Point Reyes National Seashore during mating season (which has begun on the coast of California). These animals spend a lot of energy defending territories, mating, and all without eating or drinking for several months (for more info and mating season drama, check out this Creature Feature). For the safety of yourself and respect for wildlife we share the shores with, we all need to keep our distance. A good (and quite literal) “rule of thumb” to know if you’re too close to a seal is to give a Thumbs up in front of the animal, & if you can see any part of the seal, you are too close. Take a few steps back & if you love watching wildlife, invest in a good pair of binoculars so you don’t miss the action.
[Photo and caption by Karli Chudeau]
For more wildlife viewing info: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/marine-life-viewing-guidelines
[Edited by Maggie Creamer]