Photo by @daisygilardini | Harp seal pups, like this one in Canada, are born on sea ice from late February to March. At birth they are covered in a beautiful white coat that lasts for a couple of weeks. After that dark, waterproof hair grows in.
Pups are skinny at birth, weighing around 10 to 12 kilograms. Mothers stay and nurse pups for a period of 12 days—a short time by mammal standards. Their superfat milk helps pups gain two kilograms of blubber a day. Once weaned, at around 40 kilograms, the pups stay on the ice for another six weeks before entering the water and learning how to hunt by themselves.
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