Portrait of the Mediterranean monk seal

Mediterranean monk seal

Mediterranean monk seals are one of the most endangered mammals in the world. The name is derived from the fact that their body coloration looks like a monk's clothing. They live in small inlets and sea caves of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and off the north-western coast of Africa to Madeira and the Canaries. Their social groups consist of a large male and many females. Mating occurs underwater and births occur from May to November.

Did you know?
Mediterranean monk seals swim so well that they can outmaneuver a shark.

Scientific name: Monachus monachus

Rank: Species


The Mediterranean monk seal can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Europe, Mediterranean. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Mediterranean monk seal distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Shallow seas Shallow seas
Shallow seas cover the continental shelves. These sunlit, or neritic, waters are where the oceans are most productive, where biomass is highest and where all the major sea fisheries of the world take their catches.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1