Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes wedelli) pup with mother

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Antarctic seals

Newly born Weddell seal pups have to be some of the worlds cutest creatures as they flop about the ice in the early days after their birth, not able to co-ordinate their over-sized flippers before they grow into them.   The mother arrives pregnant and with enough resources of blubber and protein to double the 25kg (55lb) birth weight of a pup in 10 days. She doesn't feed for about the first month and goes from an extremely plump barrel shape just before she gives birth to a skinny shadow of her former self with ribs visible while the pup reverses the process.

Photo; © Paul Ward