Elephant seals typically live on land for three or four weeks of the year during their molting period, but they generally stay near their home beaches and well away from humans.
Not Neil, though. He’s a local celebrity in a southern Tasmanian town, because he loves to travel a few hundred feet up the beach and into human civilization to see how things are going.
Neil, who is now three years old, is well known in town and has been spotted in several local favorite spots, but he still usually doesn’t get very close to humans.
Neil’s experience with Amber Harris, however, is a different story.
Amber says she was getting up and ready for work when she heard a noise outside. She thought someone was trying to break into her vehicle, so she rushed to the window to see what was going on. She was very surprised, as one might expect, to see Neil lying by her car.
Because Neil weighs about 1300 pounds, it’s not safe for humans to get close to him. Amber was forced to call in to work and tell them she wasn’t going to make it in today.
Luckily, Amber reports that her boss was understanding about the issue and that the entire office had “a bit of a laugh” over the strange excuse for Amber’s absence.
Neil spent a few hours in Amber’s yard. He likely wasn’t hovering around the car the whole time, but his size and the wild nature of his species make it unsafe for humans to get anywhere near the giant beast. Experts recommend that people stay at least 65 feet away from Neil and any others of his species.
That, of course, left Amber cloistered in her house for the day. But what a story she has to tell now!
We can’t wait to hear about what’s next in Neil’s travel plans for next year!
Check out the video below to learn more about Neil’s adventures in town and Amber’s strange encounter with him.