Photo: Elephant seal in the midst of sand flipping

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Our photo of the day is a lesson in keeping cool.

Photographer Sam McMillan quips that sand is suntan lotion for elephant seals; and while it may not be smooth and creamy, it does indeed protect the mammals. With bodies designed to keep warm in cold water, sand flipping helps them keep cool on land by acting as a sunscreen. It has some other nifty functions as well; if a female is being pestered by an unwanted suitor, for instance, he might want to brace himself for a faceful of sand. Keep your flippers to yourself, mister.

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