Elephant Seals Tussle for Territory

Male northern elephant seals face off for the best beach territory for mating season.
Robert Schwemmer, CINMS, NOAA

Male northern elephant seals face off on the beach by vocalizing through their extended noses, called proboscises. Every winter, when the seals return to the beach where they were born to breed, males arrive first to tussle for territory. The winners of these fights are the "alpha" males, and they get the biggest and best territories. After the beachfront property is divvied among the alpha males, the females arrive for breeding. Learn about how scientists track elephant seals with satellite tags at the Census of Marine Life.