I’ll be displaying some of the most significant Hawaiian monk seal facts including monk seal diet, habitat, and reproduction. The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is a species of earless seal that belongs to the family of Phocidae. The monk seal is an endangered species and it inhabits in the Hawaiian Islands. These animals are solitary animals like certain monks. The other monk seal species is Mediterranean monk seal. This is the only extant seal species endemic to Hawaii. A small number of seals estimating 1,100 are threatened because of illegal human encroachment. The evolutionary history of Hawaiian monk seal is still under discussion as scientists have not been able to discover enough fossil’s evidence to figure out the precise ancestors of these species. Nevertheless, these seals are regarded as the most prehistoric of extant seals that evolves from the Caribbean species M. tropicalis.
Amazing Hawaiian Monk Seal Facts
- The Hawaiian monk seal exhibits a white belly, slim physique and grey-colored body. The body is perfectly designed for hunting its prey such as squid, octopus, lobster, and fish.
- These species are often found on the sandy beaches or volcanic rock when it’s not engaged in hunting or eating. Hawaiian monk seals are found all throughout Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
- These types of seals have external ears and are incapable to rotate their rear flippers underneath their body.
- The Hawaiian monk seal has large eyes together with the plane head. With the help of their torpedo-shaped body and rear flippers, Hawaiian monk seals can swim rapidly.
- The weight of the male Hawaiian monk seal measures around 300 – 400 pounds (140 – 180 kg), with the length measuring at 7 feet (2 meters).
- The males are fairly smaller than females.
- The females weigh around 400 – 600 pounds (180 – 270 kg), with the length measuring at 2 meters (8 feet).
- The weight of the newly born pups measure around 30 – 40 pounds (14 – 18 kg), with the length measuring at 40 inches (0 meter). These pups are nursed for about six weeks, after which they can weigh around 150 – 200 pounds (68 – 91 kg), and their mother will lose its weight by 300 pounds (100 kg).
- The Hawaiian monk seal tend to stay at beach during the period of moulting which lasts for about 10 days.
- They have bright grey hair on the dorsal side.
- The maximum lifespan of Hawaiian monk seals is 25 – 30 years.
Most of the monk seals inhabit across the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and only a handful amount of these species are known to reside in the Hawaiian Islands. These animals tend to spend almost one-third of their entire time at sea.
What Do Hawaiian Monk Seals Eat | Hawaiian Monk Seal Facts
Hawaiian monk seals primarily prey crustaceans, teleosts, and cephalopods. The young monk seals prey on smaller species such as octopi including O. hawaiiensis and leteus. These species are opportunistic feeders. Sharks are the most frequent predators of these species, Galapagos sharks and tiger sharks in particular.
The breeding season of Hawaiian monk seals occurs in December and August. The mating comes about in waters. The females reach the maturity age after four years and will give birth to a single pup. The pups weigh around 16 kg (35 lb), with the length measuring at 1 meter (3 ft 3 in). These juveniles shed their coat at about 6 weeks. The mother will nurse its pups for about 6 weeks during this period the mother won’t take any meal whatsoever and thus it will lose its weight considerably.
A good many number of these species are also found on Peal and Hermes Atoll, Layson, Midway, and French Frigate Shoals. The Hawaiian monk seals are listed as critically endangered species. The largest concentration that exists in northwest Hawaiian Islands are believed to be declining. According to an estimate of 2010 there are only 1,100 species left.