Ringed Seals Spotted from the Healy

This is from the FWS biologist Sophie Webb who is onboard the Healy:
Ringed seals are the smallest of the ice seals averaging about 4 feet (1.2meters) in length weighing approximately 120 lbs. They maintain  breathing holes in the ice with the long claws on their front flippers. They are shy so are usually found in the middle of an ice floe with their head towards their hole (an escape route). They have a year round association with the ice. Adults breed on the land attached ice while non-breeders live far out in the pack ice (as we have seen them on this trip). They eat small crustaceans (shrimp), zooplankton and schooling fish such as arctic cod.  Bearded seals are much larger seals reaching 7.5 feet (2.3meters) in length and weighing approximately 500 lbs! They are very solitary except for during brief mating periods and when females are with their pups. They live entirely on moving ice, and don’t even like large unbroken pieces of drifting ice. They are benthic feeders, eating small animals that live on the sea floor, and they are able to dive to great depths. Their long bushy whiskers help them locate their food which includes marine invertebrates (snails, crabs, shrimp and clams) that live  in the sediment of  the sea floor. They will also eat small schooling fish such as arctic cod.
Sophie took these seal photos from the
Front view of a ringed seal.

Front view of a ringed seal from the Healy. Photo courtesy of Sophie Webb.


Ringed seal.

Ringed Seal. Photo courtesy of Sophie Webb.

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