Kongo paid a visit to La Jolla today and found several brand new seal pups! These harbor seal species are part of the pinnipedia order and birthing season in Southern California is between late January through the end of April. At the Children’s Pool Beach the city ropes off a section for the seals during birthing season but these seals were on a nearby stretch of sand and people were getting fairly close. Seals have very sharp teeth and mother seals can be aggressive if they feel their young are threatened so it’s best to stay back and approach with only a long lens. Besides, both the mother’s and baby seals need time to rest after the birthing ordeal so please leave them in peace and watch from afar.
It was fun to watch the new pups flop about and explore their new environment. The mothers seemed exhausted. These seals only give milk for a few days but it is so rich that the pups grow rapidly and are swimming within hours of birth.
There’s an annual controversy this time of year in San Diego about access to the beach where the seals are born. Divers and swimmers want access and feel the seals have taken over prime real estate. Seal feces also makes the water hazardous for swimming.
On the other hand, it’s hard not to like a bunch of baby seals.
Just in case your etymology is a little rusty, a pinniped is from the Latin pinni, which means feather, and ped, which of course is foot. So these creatures are feather feet! When you look at their flippers you can understand how they got their name.
Travel safe. Have fun.