Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet" and "Endangered Edens."

Danger! Danger! Well, sort of danger,

Fur Seal Roar

Marty’s photo of the day #1531: Here’s another photo from Antarctica. A short except from my book, “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet,” explains this shot:

We continued along the outcrop until we reached four more fur seals. The handsome pinnipeds watched us for a few minutes before breaking into a sparring match. They chased each other with a rolling bearlike gait and wrestled with the quickness and agility of bears as well. While I observed the battle royal from my ringside seat, I wondered—were they showing off for us, or were we just an irrelevant piece of landscape?

As Olle and the others meandered away, I lagged behind to take some photos. In the midst of setting up a shot, I inadvertently invaded the personal space of a fur seal. He bared his sharp teeth and charged me with a terrifying roar!

I stood tall, raised my hands in the air, and shouted, “I’m big! I’m big!”
Ten feet short of me he stopped, turned, and retreated with a whimper. I had called his bluff.

I wasn’t the first person charged by a fur seal. A few minutes earlier, the same thing had happened to Olle. Having witnessed his stand-tall technique, I copied it, trusting my seal would be as predictable as his was. Luckily, the seal stopped when he did, because another foot or two and I might have violated the rule against defecating on shore landings.

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