Weddell seal milk is one of the
richest produced by any mammal. It contains about 60% fat (go
and compare that to the label on the milk carton in the fridge)
and it is this that is responsible for the rapid weight gain made
by pups shortly after birth. They are weaned (stop drinking milk
and begin eating normal seal food, i.e. fish) at around 7 weeks
when they should have reached about 110kg (242lb). When adult, they
will weigh up to 400kg (880lb) and be up to 3m (10ft) long. Unusually,
the males are slightly smaller than the females.
Pups are encouraged into the water
very early on by their mothers, perhaps only a week or so after
birth. The water is their natural habitat and with their thick protection
of blubber is a more comfortable place to be most of the time for
these seals than out on the ice where the temperature can be -40°
C or less with winds frequently of gale force or greater.
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied
or used in any manner without prior written permission.