Rona the gray seal at The Louisville Zoo

Rona the gray seal. (The Louisville Zoo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One of the residents of the Louisville Zoo is expecting.

On Tuesday morning, the Zoo announced that Rona, a six-year-old gray seal, is expected to give birth this winter. That birth is expected to take place sometime between December and February.

This will be Rona's first pup. The father is a 16-year-old gray seal named Boone.

Gray seals are typically pregnant for 11 months, according to the Zoo. Their reproductive system is designed such that the implantation of the embryo is delayed, so that the females will give birth at the same time of the year along with others of their own species.

"Rona has more than doubled her weight in preparation for pupping and lactation," said associate veterinarian Dr. Julie Ter Beest, in a statement. "We're excited to see what kind of mom she will be."

According to the news release, seal pups weigh between 30-35 pounds at birth and are born with a soft white hair coat. The pups are weaned after they nurse for four weeks, at which time they gain approximately 100 pounds by nursing on the high-fat milk. By the time they were weaned, the white hair coat molts and the pups assume adult coloration. 

Seal pups are not good swimmers until the molting takes place.

Eight seal pups have been born at the Louisville Zoo. 

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