Photo via Elizabeth Haslam/Flickr

Enormous elephant seal puts a new spin on the chicken’s road-crossing riddle

Maybe she had an important meeting?


David Britton

Internet Culture

Published Dec 29, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 10:44 am CDT

Wildlife experts had their hands full on Monday trying to keep a 500-pound elephant seal from trying to cross a busy section of highway in Sonoma, California.

Employees from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito teamed up with the California Highway Patrol to turn the large adult female back to the water after reports came in that she was trying to climb over a divider and onto the road.

Officers and workers were able to herd the lady back into the water, but she didn’t give up easily.

“Every time we got her in the water, she circled back and tried to climb out again,” said Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol.

As evening fell, the tide lowered, which rescuers hoped would lessen the elephant seal’s chances of making another attempt. CHP continued to patrol the area that night to make sure that both the seal and motorists were safe.

It’s not clear why the elephant seal, which appeared to be uninjured, was trying to cross the road, or what she planned to do once she had crossed, but Laura Sherr, a spokeswoman for the marine mammal center, said the animal probably just got confused after swimming up the wrong waterway. 

H/T Los Angeles Times | Photo via Elizabeth Haslam/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Dec 29, 2015, 4:52 pm CST