Elephant seal chases great white shark in Plett 

Published: October 4th, 2020

Have you ever seen a Great White Shark getting chased by an Elephant Seal?

This happened last week off Robberg peninsula in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, where some of the best land based sightings in the world of great white sharks can be seen.

Video credit: Luka Oosthuizen ( 14 years old) and posted by ORCA Foundation

About Elephant Seals

The Elephant seal gets its name from its unmistakable swollen, proboscis-like snout of the male, which is used to produce very loud roars, especially during the breeding season. Females are fat and chubby, drab brown and lacks the proboscis. These creatures feeds mostly on Squid, fish, sharks, rays, ratfish, molluscs, crustaceans, krill, algae and they only have one pair of incisor teeth in the lower jaw and the can weigh up to 3.6 tons.

They are very common on sub-Antarctic islands. However, a few stragglers find their way to South Africa each year and may join fur seal colonies.

Some fun Elephant Seal facts:

  • Southern elephant seals can travel up to 33,800 km per year, the longest known migration for any mammal.
  • Their trunk-like nose serves two purposes: Males use the proboscis to generate loud roars to fend off other males, and both males and females use it to re-absorb moisture during their mating fasts.
  • Southern elephant seals are among the few seals that moult, shedding their outer layer of skin.
  • Bulls form a shield of keratinised skin on their chests to protect them when fighting with other males.
  • Southern elephant seals spend almost 90% of their lives in the water.
  • Males can weigh up to 10 times what females weigh, the greatest weight disparity between sexes of any mammal.

Source: Pro Dive Plett where you can take a boat trip to view Elephant Seals and Cape Fur Seals in their natural environment.