A rogue elephant seal nicknamed Nibbles has run rampant near the mouth of the Russian River in recent weeks, killing a dozen harbor seals, biting a surfer and jumping out of the water to attack a pit bull terrier on Easter.
One witness said the 2,500-pound male, who often lunges at his victims, is the most aggressive elephant seal he’s ever seen.
“This bull does straight-out murder,” said Keary Sorenson of Sebastopol, a former surfer who volunteers for government and nonprofit agencies in Sonoma County. “A week ago, I saw him chase down a female harbor seal, use chest blows to crush her, then bare his upper canine teeth and drive them down onto her head and back.”
Warning signs have gone up on beaches near Jenner, and officials cautioned the public Monday not to swim or wade in the estuary waters around Goat Rock Beach or approach the big seal should they see him basking in the sun. Kayakers also have grown wary, scouting the estuary from overlooking bluffs before going for a paddle.
“Just because elephant seals are big doesn’t mean they won’t move quickly,” said Sarah Allen, a National Park Service biologist at Point Reyes National Seashore. “On beach sand, a bull can charge faster than I can run. They may appear docile. But they’re very unpredictable. Everyone who works with them has to undergo intensive safety training.”
Allen, an expert on elephant seals, put a pink tag on the bull’s hind flippers when he first showed up at the river estuary as an adolescent five years ago. While males often become aggressive, this one’s behavior is extreme.
Last month, the seal bit the leg of a surfer in the ocean after the surfer fell on the animal. The bite caused no serious injury.
Then, on Easter, he attacked a pit bull, a 10-year-old female named Sativa, while the dog was being walked on a beach below River’s End Restaurant & Inn in Jenner. Angel Garcia, exercising the dog for a friend, was tossing a stick in the water for it to retrieve.
Kathie Lowrey, who lives nearby and was outside washing her car before going to church, saw the dog emerge from the water, drop the stick and begin to shake off droplets of water.
“I saw the elephant seal come out of the water like a torpedo, angle down on the dog and land on him,” said Lowrey. “Somehow the dog wriggled out and turned and squared off with the seal.”
Erinn Flaherty, the dog’s owner, said Garcia told her Sativa barked defiantly at the seal while Garcia hurled the stick at him. Garcia then escaped with the dog, which suffered a puncture wound the diameter of a quarter in one thigh.
“It’s the third time I know of that something like this has happened with elephant seal bulls in the last 10 years,” said Joe Cordaro, a wildlife biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Long Beach. “It sometimes happens, with a young displaced bull with high testosterone levels, that they try to establish new territory and mate with whatever they come across. This does fit a certain pattern. There is no evidence yet that it is sick in any way.”
Sorenson says that soon after the bull first appeared, he tried unsuccessfully to mate with the (much smaller) female harbor seals. Then, last year, after trying again to mate, he turned violent and began to kill. This year, he is staying around well past his usual departure date at the end of March, and now has started to consume his kills.
“Juveniles tend to travel about — that’s how new colonies get established,” Allen said. “But I think this guy is confused; he doesn’t know where his colony is. He’s out of time, out of sequence. Right now, he should be traveling up to forage in Alaska.
“He’s not getting his desired response from the harbor seal females. They are running away from him. So he’s not getting any social development. And elephant seals do combat play on land, whereas water zones are where harbor seals do it. So that’s not working out for him, either.”
Wildlife officials have several intervention options should the elephant seal — nicknamed two years ago after he bit a kayaker — linger much longer on his own.
They could try to harass him into leaving. Allen says daily exposure to a flapping blue tarp can sometimes do the trick. Sorenson says he is talking with the California Department of Fish and Game about using a bottle-rocket-like device with a whistle, flash and boom to make the estuary an unpleasant place for the seal to stay.
And should that fail and should the bull continue to threaten other wildlife and possibly attack some unwary person, wildlife officials could shoot him with tranquilizing darts and move the mammal — or shoot and kill him.
“The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 does protect this animal,” said Cordaro. “But if we determine it’s an anomalous threat to the public, the state park and state Fish & Game can take whatever measure they deem necessary. You hope it doesn’t reach that level. But it could.”
The colonization of the Pacific Coast shoreline by northern elephant seals is a result of the demise of one its predators.
“Before the time of European colonization, grizzly bears would have kept all the elephant seals in check,” Allen said. “Only harbor seals would have been there. They have the instincts to take off into the water if they see a land animal appear, then come back when that animal’s gone. Elephant seals don’t. They confront what shows up. They are used to inhabiting islands. So it’s an interesting example of what happens when an ecosystem is disrupted. Take grizzlies out of the picture, and elephant seals aren’t scared off of the mainland beaches anymore.”
Now the aggressor in the Russian River is an elephant seal who will stand up to other animals and even humans.
“Bottom line is, he’s very dangerous,” said Allen. “You wouldn’t want to get bitten by one. They have huge incisors, and even a warning nip can break a human bone.”
— Range and population
Northern elephant seals are found in the North Pacific, from Baja California to the Aleutian Islands. During breeding season, they live on beaches on offshore islands and remote spots on the mainland. Hunted for their blubber to only a few hundred in the early 20th century, they are estimated to number about 180,000 today.
— Physical agility
They seldom move rapidly on land, but they can move faster than most humans on sand. They swim at speeds of 10 to 15 mph and dive to incredible depths — the maximum recorded depth is 5,015 feet by a male in 1991 — in search of food at sea.
— Food and predators
Male and female elephant seals are believed to feed on different prey. Females primarily eat squid and the male diet includes small sharks and bottom-dwelling fish. Great white sharks and killer whales prey on them.
Sources: The Marine Mammal Center; Friends of the Elephant Seal; California State Parks
E-mail Paul McHugh at email@example.com.
Hi, my name is Tim, or Joe, or Sam. Though we haven’t had a formal introduction I’m sure you know me, or at least what I represent here. I’m fat guys. I’m nerdy guys. I’m short guys, bald guys, dorky guys, spazzes, weirdos. Hobos, and guys without great jobs, cars, or clothes. I just wanted to take a second to talk to you about something very important to me, something it doesn’t seem that you realize:
If you are physically attractive and dress in such a way to grab the attention of attractive males, you will also grab the attention of us unattractive males.
I’m sorry you’re attractive though I am not. Believe me, it is probably as hard for me as it is for you. It isn’t like I didn’t sometimes wish I was some hot dude with whom you would make out at some shitty party with bad music. But just so you know, you were showing a lot of cleavage on the escalator at Barnes and Noble today and even though I wasn’t the guy you wanted to attract, I like boobs just like he does. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the creepy guys. I know how to look at some boobs without staring or showing up in your driveway, but if you catch me checking you out please don’t look so pissed off. What if I knew some hot dude and was about to point him in your direction but changed my mind because now you seem like a bitch? Bet you didn’t think of that while buying that short skirt did you?
Please don’t think I’m asking you to become the chick in the bar who is a little ugly and past her prime who wants any and all guys to stare at her and have endless conversations about sexuality like that one time in college when she totally made out with some chick at a party and a whole bunch of frat guys got boners. I’m just saying, if you go fishing don’t get mad if you catch a boot, or a tin can, or even maybe some seaweed.
[17:12] ThomasRayDesign: wow
[17:12] ThomasRayDesign: like they like it enough to maybe publish it?
[17:13] soleilsmile: They want my other comic in progress ” The Berkeley Clique” for their target market
[17:13] ThomasRayDesign: wow
[17:14] soleilsmile: It was more of a “Here are a few touch ups and please keep us posted thing”.
[17:14] ThomasRayDesign: ??
[17:14] soleilsmile: They also like to develop comics from the start instead of having developed comics
[17:14] ThomasRayDesign: so what does that mean?
[17:15] soleilsmile: I have a new reader–plus he wants me to submit the Berekeley Clique for development by Tokyo Pop
[17:15] soleilsmile: He like READ my comic right in front of me , instead of just flipping through the pages
[17:16] ThomasRayDesign: wow
[17:16] ThomasRayDesign: impressive
[17:16] soleilsmile: He had the same advice you gave me–MORE dialogue and less stand along pages with little or no dialogue on it
[17:17] soleilsmile: I must be a better wirter than I though–so I need to take some screenwriting classes to impove my writing
[17:17] ThomasRayDesign: I AM A GENIOUS!!!
[17:17] soleilsmile: Yes YOU ARE my dear editor!
[17:17] ThomasRayDesign: but i can’t spell 😦
[17:17] ThomasRayDesign: LMAO
[17:17] ThomasRayDesign: i just know what I want
[17:17] soleilsmile: He noted my typos
[17:17] soleilsmile: I can’t believe he actually READ IT
[17:18] ThomasRayDesign: why?
[17:18] soleilsmile: and quoted my dialogue back to me as I left!
[17:18] ThomasRayDesign: like what?
[17:18] soleilsmile: Well you expect people to look at the art more than read
[17:18] soleilsmile: people hate reading
[17:18] ThomasRayDesign: you do?
[17:19] soleilsmile: I like reading, but I guess I am used to people who judge film storyboards–noyt comics
[17:19] ThomasRayDesign: i see
[17:19] ThomasRayDesign: as a comic book editor I would imagine he would want to see that the story was on par with the illustration
[17:20] soleilsmile: if there are any words in a film at all—even screen directions on a board–people complain
[17:20] soleilsmile: The art is supposed to tell the story
[17:20] ThomasRayDesign: i see
[17:20] ThomasRayDesign: eww
[17:20] soleilsmile: but I gather your meaning—a publisher will check to see if you can write
[17:20] ThomasRayDesign: a little dialogue is needed sometimes
[17:20] ThomasRayDesign: right
[17:21] soleilsmile: wow… I can sort of write
[17:21] soleilsmile: who knew?
[17:21] soleilsmile: at least he didn’t critque me on it
[17:21] ThomasRayDesign: lol
[17:21] soleilsmile: He had more art directions issues with my comic and concentrated on that
[17:21] soleilsmile: he want the whole book to look like my covers
[17:22] ThomasRayDesign: wow
[17:22] soleilsmile: simple, with a limited palette
[17:22] ThomasRayDesign: that is gonna be a lot of work
[17:22] soleilsmile: The covers are the hardest part of the comic, so I will need some help if I publish the Berkeley Clique with them
[17:23] soleilsmile: Otherwise each book will take 6mos for me to do like Our Fiends and Neighbors
[17:23] soleilsmile: That one was MURDER
[17:23] ThomasRayDesign: i can imagine
[17:23] soleilsmile: I even had to cop out on a few backgrounds–as you noticed
[17:23] ThomasRayDesign: lol
[17:24] ThomasRayDesign: i just know your style
[17:24] soleilsmile: Yeah
[17:24] soleilsmile: and I shall remedey those ailments before self publishing the book as a collection in December
[17:25] ThomasRayDesign: good good
[17:25] soleilsmile: And I am commadeering you to help me with that dear gay husband
[17:26] ThomasRayDesign: lol I will do what I can… I start senior collection this fall so I am gonna be a little insane myself
[17:26] soleilsmile: I can’t wait to draw telling Sakura that she’s just a clothes hanger for your fashions in the winter issue of Superfical
[17:26] ThomasRayDesign: but I will help where I can
[17:26] ThomasRayDesign: LMAO
[17:26] soleilsmile: I won’t bug you too much
[17:26] ThomasRayDesign: nor can I wait to read it
[17:26] soleilsmile: But I kow you can’t help but comment when you see a flaw
[17:26] ThomasRayDesign: it is ok just be understanding if I don’t respond
[17:27] soleilsmile: I’ll just send a link or a hard ciopy to you when I’m done
[17:27] ThomasRayDesign: sounds good
[17:28] soleilsmile: 🙂
[17:29] ThomasRayDesign: oi… I gotta tell ya I am so in LIKE with this boy
[17:29] soleilsmile: LOL
[17:29] soleilsmile: You two sorta look alike too
[17:30] ThomasRayDesign: that is what I have been told
[17:30] ThomasRayDesign: but I have also been told that I am narcasistic too
[17:30] ThomasRayDesign: LMAO
[17:31] ThomasRayDesign: i guess this proves it
[17:37] soleilsmile: Well just appreciate beauty wherever you see it–even if it’s mostly within yourself. That whay I like about you Vanity Smurf^_^
[17:37] ThomasRayDesign: LMAO
[17:37] soleilsmile: I was a bit leery about calling you that
[17:38] soleilsmile: Happy you not mad
[17:38] ThomasRayDesign: why I am
[17:38] ThomasRayDesign: i know what I am
[17:38] ThomasRayDesign: and vain is certainly one thing that I can be
[17:38] soleilsmile: Well, you are desreved of the trait
[17:38] soleilsmile: You ARE beautiful
[17:39] soleilsmile: There are too many guys who have no confidence in themselves
[17:39] soleilsmile: They drive me NUTS
[17:39] soleilsmile: fricken fishers
[17:39] ThomasRayDesign: lol
[17:39] soleilsmile: Sometimes it’s endearing, like with my friedn Franz
[17:40] soleilsmile: But ex-beau Aaron and his chronic depression just enrages me
[17:40] ThomasRayDesign: Franz irritated me
[17:40] ThomasRayDesign: LMAO
[17:40] ThomasRayDesign: sorry but he was to insecure
[17:40] soleilsmile: Different Franz
[17:41] soleilsmile: This is lab tech Franz I am speaking of
[17:41] ThomasRayDesign: oh ok
[17:41] ThomasRayDesign: lol
[17:41] soleilsmile: He’s an underdog—but not a loser
[17:41] soleilsmile: Just a little diamond in the rough
[17:41] ThomasRayDesign: i see
[17:42] soleilsmile: He’s just very hunble
[17:42] soleilsmile: but bent on improving himself
[17:42] soleilsmile: good puppy
[17:42] ThomasRayDesign: lol
[17:44] soleilsmile: I Just bought these “in ear” head phones for my pod
[17:44] soleilsmile: weirdness
[17:45] ThomasRayDesign: the ones that sit in real deep
[17:45] ThomasRayDesign: yeah I know
[17:46] soleilsmile: It’s like inserting a babblefish from the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, in your ear
[17:46] soleilsmile: But at least I don’t have to blast my pod anymore
[17:46] soleilsmile: Ofra Haza sounds really good
[17:46] soleilsmile: sing it girl
[17:48] ThomasRayDesign: lol
Women Love to Watch Gay Porn (you stupid fucking man…)
Why are men soooooooooo stupid? It is like they are completely oblivious to the fact that to us (women), they are pornographic sex objects (just like we are to them). A few things to note:
1. We watch gay porn. It is partly for the fetish aspect, and partly because the guys in gay porn are fit, young and totally hot.
2. We fantasize about naked men all of the time (who are young, hot, and NOT our boyfriends/husbands/whatever). We think about sex all the time and totally lie about it.
3. We see you all as pieces of ass–we undress you with our eyes, and we discuss your private parts openly with our girlfriends.
4. A lot of us fantasize about dominating men (a lot more than you would think, the dominatrix next door could be your girlfriend). A lot of women think about fucking you with a strap-on.
5. We like to physically objectify you…when you are walking, when you are bending over, when you are sleeping…you are never safe.
6. A lot of us like the idea of sexually controlling you.
7. We go to strip clubs–to look at hot naked men, stupid. Unless we are lesbian or bisexual we don’t want to see other women’s bodies.
8. We like men to be hot–if you are an ugly man with a hot chick then a. she’s using you for cash which she promptly uses to pay her young stud or b. she is gay and is getting it on with other women.
9. We fantasize about multiple men.
10. We like younger men. We sometimes use older men for money–but they are not our definition of sexually attractive.
11. A lot of us lie like hell about our tendencies–this is a tiny glimpse of honesty.
As we get older, we get worse (but some of us start out really nasty when we’re young). The sooner you realize that we see you the way you see us, the easier life will be for all of us. Now shut your face and get to the gym you fat ugly bastard, and let your girlfriend watch her gay porn in peace!!
p.s. If you were better at giving your girlfriend head, she would not be turning to women, now would she?? Fucking loser…