They’re throwing their own beach parties and having their own hot girl summer, and who can blame them

Quick notes

  • A large group of 40 elephant seals invaded Drake Beach earlier this year

  • Tourists were thrilled to see the enormous creatures so up close and personal, in more ways than one

  • No attempts were made to move the seals on by local enforcement

In May this year, the popular Californian beach, known as Drake Beach, was overtaken by a swathe of elephant seals who decided that a few days away from their usual routine was exactly what the doctor ordered.

More realistically, a freak storm interrupted the usual behavior patterns of these giant creatures, and they found themselves on an unfamiliar coastline. Californian’s making plans to attend the popular beach location may have been slightly perturbed when they had the…uh…unique face of an elephant seal staring back at them.

Regardless of appearance, the sheer size of an elephant seal is enough to give anyone cause for hesitation. Whether you’re trying to catch some rays or catch some waves, an 8800-pound behemoth of a sea creature asking to share your bathing towel is enough to unnerve anybody.

California Love isn’t just a song title anymore

The worst part? The reason for the elephant seal beach party was so that they could procreate in preparation for the winter months. So not only did these seals crash a beach entirely uninvited, but they also did it just so could they have their own intimate vacation right on California’s doorstep. Maybe elephant seals were the real California Gurls Katy Perry was singing about all along. Perry has yet to comment.

According to National Geographic, male elephant seals can weigh anywhere between 4000 and 6000 pounds and can range between 12 and 18 feet in length, making them pretty gargantuan. Their poor female counterparts are much, much smaller, which made for quite the concerning sight when Californian onlookers got a view of the action. They only have themselves to blame.

Okay, okay. Admittedly, it wasn’t just the elephant seal’s desire for a sexcation that drove them to Drake Beach. There are around 2000 elephant seals off the coast of San Francisco, and they usually keep their distance, but due to high tide and a particularly nasty storm, many of the enormous mammals lost their way. They fought their way through fences and picnic tables for the privilege of invading Drake Beach, so they kind of earned it.

Despite the absurd nature of the situation, a total of 1400 tourists came to witness the spectacle and expressed gratitude that they got to see the impressive creatures so up close. They were a mere 40 yards away when visitors came to view the elephant seals when ordinarily they would be attempting a single glance from over a quarter of a mile away.

The seals are not for turning

No attempts were made to move the seals on. We’re not sure how that would have gone anyway. Have you ever interrupted wild seal sex to ask them to move on? You don’t have to answer that, but we both know the answer.

1400 tourists came to witness the spectacle

Luckily, the seals that took occupation of Drake Beach were northern elephant seals as opposed to southern. Though this makes their presence on the beach even stranger, as they’re far more likely to be found on islands than any North American mainland, we’re sure grateful that was the case as their southern counterparts are even more enormous. Some reach lengths in excess of 20 feet! Now that would have been a spectacle.

A deeper dive – Related reading on the 101