Monk Seal

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Monk Seal is a chubby marine mammal of about 2-3 meters in length and weighing approximately 200-300 kg. Adult monk seals have hard and short hairs (0.5 cm.) covering their body all over. In water, their most visible part is the head along with a long moustache and large black eyes. There is no major length or weight difference between males and females but there are characteristic color differences.

Click to see the original image Mediterranean monk seal pups are generally born in September and October with a black coat and a yellowish white patch on their stomach. The variation in the features of this patch, which frequently has black spots, allows non-invasive identification and sexing of individual pups by scientists. Mediterranean monk seal pups are generally born in September and October with a black coat and a yellowish white patch on their stomach. The variation in the features of this patch, which frequently has black spots, allows non-invasive identification and sexing of individual pups by scientists.

The adult coat varies but is generally a smooth dark brown (said to resemble the robe of a Franciscan friar, Click to see the original image hence the name of "monk seal"), often with a lighter patch underneath. Pups are nursed for a period thought to be around 16-17 weeks and learn to dive in shallow waters close to the haulout cave. As weaning occurs, the pups dive in more distant and deeper waters, e.g. up to 10km away and up to 40 metres deep.

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