The West

Sealed road a big hit with locals
The elephant seal contemplates its next move on The Esplanade in Albany. Picture: Rhonda Bell

A giant elephant seal drew the attention of scores of Albany locals as it moved out of the water, crossed the road and sunbaked outside a home for two hours.

Rhonda Bell, owner of The Esplanade property the seal temporarily called home, said neighbours had a good laugh at the bizarre incident at the weekend.

"It was amazing - all the neighbours thought it was hilarious," she said. "It just laid itself down on the front lawn."

Mrs Bell and husband Ken are building a new house on The Esplanade and she suggested the front lawn looked somewhat like a beach.

"It started getting closer and closer to the house and I started getting worried," she said.

The elephant seal beached itself at the Bells' home on Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife said the seal was male, 2.5m to 3m long and estimated at between 500kg and 700kg.

Nature conservation regional leader Deon Utber said the animal was malting, causing its blood to move to the skin, resulting in loss of body heat.

Elephant seals migrate in search of food, spending months at sea and often diving deep to forage, holding their breath for up to 100 minutes.

They regain body warmth on land.

Mrs Bell was told the seal could repeat the behaviour for five weeks or five months.

Mr Utber suggested attention from residents would cause the seal to find another spot to warm up.

Pictures: Rhonda Bell
The West Australian

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