Pinniped Species


Mediterranean Monk Seal

Scientific Name: Monachus monachus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Monachus
Species: monachus
Other Common Names: Mediterranean Monk Seal
Average Length: 7-9 ft.
Average Weight: Males can be slightly larger than females. 530-880lbs.

Mediterranean monk seals have a widespread range throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the east Atlantic Ocean along Northwest Africa coastline. 


These seals have a rounded head with an extended, broad muzzle.  Their color ranges from brownish to grayish with a lighter underside.  Their front flippers are relatively short while their hind-flippers are slender.

Diet in the Wild:

Fish, rays, octopus and squid. 


These seals can be found in warm waters and are considered to be shy and solitary. 


Mediterranean monk seals become sexually mature at 2-6 years of age and males defend an area of water for successful breeding. Females will give birth year-round but the season peaks September-November. Mothers and pups develop a strong bond and the pups typically are weaned at 4 months but can occasionally stay for 4 years. 

Conservation Status:

They are considered “Critically Endangered”. In 1992 an island off Greece established an area protected for monk seals called the National Marine Park of Alonnisos. They are the most endangered of all pinnipeds. 

Threats in the Wild:

All monk seal species are sensitive to change; therefore, human encroachment has prevented them from being by their natural habitat. Fishermen have also targeted them for their meat, oil, hide and attempted to reduce competition for fish, squid and octopus.  

Fun Facts:

They have the shortest hair of all the pinnipeds. 

Resident Animals: none