Caribbean Monk Seal

The Caribbean Monk Seal or West Indian Monk Seal, (Monachus tropicalis), is an extinct species of seal and the only seal ever to be known as native to the Caribbean sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The last recorded sighting of this mammal occurred in 1932 off the coast of Texas. The last possible known colony of monk seals was at Seranilla Bank, Jamaica, in 1952.

It was a relatively small seal measuring 6 to 9 feet long. It had rolls of fat around its neck and brown pelage* that faded to a yellow-white color on the stomach. The soles and palms were naked, with the nails on the anterior digits well developed. Males weighed up to 440 pounds. Females were generally smaller.

These seals spent most of their time in the water and occupying rocky and sandy coastlines for shelter and breeding. They consumed eels, lobsters, octopus, and other reef fish. It was sluggish on land like other seals, and a possible contribution to its demise was the lack of fear to man and its curious non-aggressive nature.