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cuddling an elephant seal
November 30, 2010 6:39 PM   Subscribe


 
Baby mammals really are magnificently alike sometimes, aren't they? (He said, with his puppy snoring in his lap).
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:49 PM on November 30, 2010


Blorp.
posted by strixus at 6:50 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder what size holes their teeth make.
posted by item at 6:55 PM on November 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Aww. Though, this is really "How to let a cute baby elephant seal hug you". I'm not sure I'd like to hug its father.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:55 PM on November 30, 2010


Glad you're friends with the fiancé but what gives. Watch the flippers, man. Don't think I didn't see you copping a feel just now.
posted by naju at 6:59 PM on November 30, 2010


The part where it was craning its neck backwards and flipping its back flippers reminded me of nothing so much as a teenage girl lying on her stomach on her pink fluffy bedroom rug while idly kicking her feet and trying to tell her best friend that she likes Ricky, but doesn't LIKE like him, like, you know?
posted by Gator at 6:59 PM on November 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Mammal Soidarity 4 Life
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Only got to 3:15, because i'm in danger of yelling "PET IT! PET THE ADORWDABLE SEAL THAT IS MOONING AT YOU AND SMEWING YOUR BWEAF" out loud, and that wouldn't be cool.

Can someone more tolerant tell me if there was in fact petting in the end?
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 7:10 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


No petting. Just the usual cliche of smoking.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:12 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Can someone more tolerant tell me if there was in fact petting in the end?

She slaughtered it and butchered the carcass at the end. Fresh meat for a week!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I rweally don't fink you've vewy funny burhanistan, sewiously.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 7:35 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


No petting that I saw. She was very, very disciplined. I wonder if that was why the seal was so friendly, because she looked kind of seal-ish by holding her arms to her chest so much of the time?

I doubt very much I'd have had that much self-control. :-)
posted by Malor at 7:40 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed watching the penguins in the background, too. Especially, the two that go dancing by around 1:54.
posted by ourroute at 7:50 PM on November 30, 2010


You know what seals are? They're dogs in wet suits. Somewhat elderly Labradors, wearing wetsuits.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:52 PM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Don't seals eat penguins?
posted by lumpenprole at 7:57 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


So cute. A seal of the same species had a bucket which was reported stolen.
posted by gubo at 7:58 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know how protective elephant seals are of their young, but the mothers weigh up to a ton and can "run" faster than a human on sand.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:16 PM on November 30, 2010


I spent quite a bit of time on Kure in the 1980s, fixing LORAN equipment. There are monk seals there. The lore on the island, which I found to be true, is that if you are standing a seal looks at you as a threat and either wants to fight or retreat. If you are lying down, a male seal hopes you are a female seal. Male monk seals smell like fish and have large penises.
posted by jet_silver at 8:49 PM on November 30, 2010


I thought I had seen this in the Blue before. I guess I wrongly confused this 4/21/2010 BoingBoing coverage.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 8:57 PM on November 30, 2010


I run a small drawing blog where people can submit (anonymously) requests for things to draw, and someone suggested "A Pregnant Seal." What the heck? Considering that I've only linked it through mefi projects, I must know... WHICH ONE OF YOU IS THE SMARTASS?
posted by hellojed at 9:02 PM on November 30, 2010


This is not sweet and uplifting, it's irresponsible. Nature is not your cuddle buddy. Bears are not Disney characters, chimpanzees are not domestic pets, and baby seals are not your stuffed animals.
posted by dgaicun at 9:10 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, we can focus on the "fun and games" part of "It's all fun and games until someone gets horribly mauled" just for tonight.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fank you. Eat, dwink and be mewy, for tomorrow we maulify.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 9:27 PM on November 30, 2010


Cute, but dangerous and irresponsible. That baby seal probably weighs something on the order of 250-400 pounds. It's mom probably weighs closer to 1000-2000 pounds. They both have teeth like a dog or bear with extended canines, because they're carnivores.

I've been up close and personal with much smaller harbor seals and leopard seals and they're actually really dangerous to be around. I was out in an open 18 foot aluminum skiff with my dad, his friend and my brother once and we had a full grown harbor seal jump in the boat and nearly capsize us on the open ocean. It wasn't cute at all, it was more like "O SHIT GIANT FUCKING SEABEAR IN THE BOAT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT BEFORE IT SWAMPS US OR EATS US."

Anyway, yeah. Would not want to be lounging around with the baby when mom came back from feeding. Speaking of which, those cute mustache kisses? The baby seal is hoping the lady with the camera will regurgitate some tasty herring or penguin.
posted by loquacious at 9:37 PM on November 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


Haters gonna hate. And hey, most humans ain't yo cuddle buddy neither, amirite?

Relevant episode of the always incredible Radiolab: Animal Minds, which opens with a love story about a whale and a few brave seaman.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:43 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Speaking of which, those cute mustache kisses? The baby seal is hoping the lady with the camera will regurgitate some tasty herring or penguin.

Yeah, I got the impression that it wasn't doing anything resembling kissing there. It was smelling her breath for partially digested meat.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:52 PM on November 30, 2010


When a puppy licks your face, it is also hoping you'll barf up something tasty.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 10:17 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have gone on docent-led walks at Año Nuevo when the elephant seals are there, and two things I never get over are the smell (a beach full of elephant seals smells terrible) and how enormously, gigantically, hugely big they are. The first time we went, the docent said, "Remember, there are no large, smooth rocks on this beach." And then we walked through the dunes and we passed a large, smooth rock and I thought "Ha! The docent was wrong OH MY GOD IT'S BREATHING!" And watching the males chase each other it's pretty amazing, and scary, because they are really fast. Way, way faster than you could run on sand.
posted by rtha at 10:25 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Emetophilia, I believe you are looking for. On the Google. I refrained from linking to the results.
posted by Xoebe at 10:27 PM on November 30, 2010


I wonder what size holes their teeth make.

item, every time I see a seal these days I think of the 12' leopard seal that tried to kill a member of the Shackleton Endeavor expedition.

Two men were out clubbing penguins for food, when a seal jumped onto the iceberg they were on, and began chasing the funny, extra-tall, tasty-looking "penguin". Said "penguin" began shouting at his mate, who had the gun they brought for just such emergencies, but his mate's back was turned, and with nothing to reflect the sound...

At the last minute, the mate turned around, leveled his rifle, and dropped the seal.

So, yes: seals can outrun, hunt, and kill humans. But usually don't.


Don't seals eat penguins?

Apparently elephant seals don't do it on land, lumpenprole. I've seen them mingle like this before, and it always surprises me - feels kind of like the opposing sides of Klingon battles drinking peaceably together at the bar, afterwards.


Previously: leopard seal attempts to feed woefully poor-swimming human, presumably as one might teach a toddler to eat with a spoon.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:49 PM on November 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


"and leopard seals" - correction, I don't remember what the hell I'm talking about. I'm probably just talking about small, common harbor seals.
posted by loquacious at 11:32 PM on November 30, 2010


It seems like she got more than she bargained for
posted by jimitjim at 1:51 AM on December 1, 2010


I've been up close and personal with much smaller harbor seals and leopard seals and they're actually really dangerous to be around.

All seals are not the same, though - a weaner elephant seal like this is gonna be pretty docile because it's just sitting round waiting to be fed and otherwise conserving its energy (though I'm amazed she didn't pass out from the stinky breath). The fur seals on South Georgia are a different matter - I had a friend who worked in the museum there one summer who used to have to walk to work brandishing a piece of wood with a nail in the end to keep them at bay (I think through threatening rather than actual beating, animal lovers).

The huge daddy elephant seals do move pretty quickly, but only for about 12 galumphs (technical term invented by me for those big belly flop moves) before they have to stop and rest for a few seconds, exhausted. Wouldn't want to risk being in their path, though, cos the consequences of getting it wrong would be pretty dire. The adult lady ellies are a bit nippier - they have to be to try and escape from those big hulking brutes trying to hump them.
posted by penguin pie at 3:54 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Pregnant Seal

hellojed, you simply must go with the talented-performer-who-is-also-Heide-Klum's-husband angle there!
posted by misha at 6:14 AM on December 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, well. My cats do this every day to me and they have sharp teeth and claws.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 6:38 AM on December 1, 2010


Yeah, even though I knew nothing horrible was going to happen, I was ready to instantly look away the second that seal bit off her face. Seriously, her head would definitely fit inside that thing's mouth.

Beautiful animal, obviously, but I don't get the "look how cute, I'm petting a 300 lb. predator" thing.
posted by Huck500 at 7:55 AM on December 1, 2010


Life is one big Disney cartoon. Once we realize this, we will save the planet.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:15 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The following year, the baby elephant seal finds her car.
posted by jamaro at 11:36 PM on December 1, 2010


The video link is dead.
posted by chairface at 7:21 AM on December 12, 2010


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