Zoology & Botany

monk seal

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy monk seal in advance, as well as a sample of wool

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of a monk seal.) This is a marine mammal.

Remember, to be classified as a mammal, an animal should have hair or fur, mammary glands (mammal mothers nurse their young with milk), lungs and need air to breathe. Marine mammals are warm blooded, have adapted to living all or part of their life in the ocean. To keep warm in the ocean, most of them depend on a thick layer of blubber (or fat). (Point to the seal) Say: They may look slightly dog-like because they are somewhat closely related to canines. The seal’s common name comes from the thick fold of skin around the neck that resembles the hood of a monk’s robe and because the seal lives a solitary lifestyle, unlike other seals that live in colonies. Monk seals have silvery-grey colored backs with lighter creamy coloration on their underside. Additional light patches and red and green tinged coloration from attached algae are common. The back of the animals may become darker with age, especially in males. Monk seals have a "catastrophic molt", where they shed the top layer of their skin and fur about once a year. Newborns are born with a black fur. They shed this as they grow.

Go back to the picture of the monk seal. Say: let’s find monk seal’s body parts. This is its head, eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers, body, flippers: 1,2;(Let´s pretend that we have flippers, baby!) this is its tail.(Point to its eyes) Monk seals have large eyes that are adapted to low light. They see well deep in the ocean, which helps them to locate fish.

Monk seals are living things and need energy to survive. Monk seals are carnivores since they are "benthic" foragers, feeding on a variety of prey including fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Monk seals generally hunt for food outside of the immediate shoreline areas in deep waters where they prey on eels and other benthic organisms. Breeding occurs offshore. The gestation period is 10-11 months. Females give birth to one pup on land in the spring or summer. Mother monk seals are dedicated and remain on land with their pups constantly for the first five or six weeks of their lives. They don't eat during this challenging time and may lose hundreds of pounds. After this period, the mother abandons her pup and returns to sea.

Monk seals live in warm subtropical waters and spend two-thirds of their time at sea. They use waters surrounding islands, and areas farther offshore on reefs and submerged banks. Monk seals are also found using deepwater coral beds as foraging habitat. Monk seals are one of the most endangered animal species in the world. That´s why We need to take care of Macaws and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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