Birds do it. Bees do it. Elephant seals certainly do it, but do they really need to be so rapey about it? It’s enough to make you wonder whether the males wouldn’t benefit more generally from some anger management classes.
That’s at least what I found myself thinking while watching the antics of these behemoths at a rookery along the California coast near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.
When not sleeping, the males were either rearing up to fight one another or using their enormous weight to pound a female into submission; often oblivious to the pups that sometimes got caught, and squashed, in the melee.
Judging from the large numbers of animals we saw, this breeding practice apparently yields more offspring than it kills. So good for them. But it does make you wonder, “Can’t we all just get along?”