HONOLULU (KHON2) — Do you know how many pups a monk seal can have at one time? How about what happens when a mom and her pup are on the beach?
With pupping season just around the corner, the Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) has released these fun facts!
When do monk seals give birth?
On Oahu, monk seals can give birth all year long, but it happens typically between March and September. This time frame is known as “pup season.”
How many pups can monk seals have at a time?
It’s very rare for monk seals to give birth to more than one pup, although it can happen. HMAR says Hawaiian monk seals usually give birth to one pup at a time.
What’s the gestation period?
According to HMAR, it’s believed to be about 11 months. While monk seals can have a pup once a year, it’s common for them to take one or more years off in between pupping.
What does a monk seal pup look like when it’s born?
Typically, a pup is born about three feet long and weighs between 30 to 35 pounds. Their coat is also jet black, but as time passes, it becomes the greyish-silver color that we’re used to seeing. This will happen between four to seven weeks after they’re born.
How long will mom and pup be on the beach together?
A pup will spend time with mom for the first four to seven weeks near the site where the pup was born. They spend their hours swimming, resting and nursing; however, since there’s no time to hunt for food, mom is fasting. After four to seven weeks, mom will go off to find food for herself, leaving behind her pup, which completes a process called weaning.
Then, the pup is on its own to learn how to find food and survive!
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