Male elephant seals often fight one another for territorial dominance and for breeding rights; fatal fights, however, are rare. Large bulls are protected by calloused skin and blubber in vital areas, reducing the risk of a mortal injury.
Fighting-related deaths are usually due to an injury to the jaw or eye, as this inhibits the ability of the seal to hunt and avoid predators. Adult male elephant seals feature a large proboscis and are capable of reaching a length of 20 feet and a weight of almost 9,000 pounds. The prominent proboscis of the male is a secondary sex characteristic used to produce loud vocalizations during mating season.