Elephant Seals Puzzle Scientists Through Their Unique Way of Avoiding Predators

Elephant Seals Puzzle Scientists Through Their Unique Way of Avoiding Predators

Elephant seals are amazing marine creatures, and once again, they’re proving to the world that they can think outside the box. Maybe even we could learn a thing or two from them. Few animals prey on elephant seals and for a good reason. Elephant seals are considered apex predators. 

However, there are some animals out there that can have elephant seals on their menu if they get the chance. For instance, we can consider killer whales, great white sharks, brown bears, and southern sea lions as the animals that give the creeps to elephant seals. Therefore, the latter need to find as many ways as possible in order to protect themselves from predators. 

Elephant seals can sleep 1,200 feet under the ocean to stay away from predators

Insider reveals what a new incredible study claims: in order to avoid being eaten by other animals, elephant seals won’t hesitate to drift downwards into the ocean. Furthermore, they are even programmed by nature not to drown. The elephant seals are able to fall into sleep during dives of over 1,200 feet underwater. 

The laboratory studies leading to the discovery included tags to track the movements of the marine creatures in the Año Nuevo Reserve when they were heading out to the Pacific Ocean for months at a time. 

Daniel Costa, who is the director of the UCSC Institute of Marine Sciences, explained as Insider quotes:

For years, one of the central questions about elephant seals has been when do they sleep,

He also added, as the same source quotes:

The dive records show that they are constantly diving, so we thought they must be sleeping during what we call drift dives, when they stop swimming and slowly sink, but we really didn’t know.

Who said that you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks? It looks like nature has been very generous with elephant seals by allowing them to develop such an incredible feature of sleeping underwater to avoid predators. Or perhaps that feature has always been there, and scientists discovered it too late.

The new study was published in Science


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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