Ringed Seal

Conservation

Least concern conservation status

Scientific Classification

OrderCarnivora
CladePinnipedia
FamilyPhocidae
GenusPusa
Binomial namePusa hispida

Range Map

Description

The ringed seal is also known as the jar seal, netsik or nattiq and is a species of earless seal usually inhabiting the Arctic and sub-Artic regions.

They are relatively small-sized seals, which rarely measure more than 1.5 meters in length. The average dimensions span between 100 to 175 cm in body length and their body mass is usually between 32 to 140 kilograms.

These seals are characterized by a distinct pattern of dark spots surrounded by light gray rings that give rise to their common name. 

Ringed seals can be found throughout the North Hemisphere throughout the Arctic Ocean into the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay in Alaska and Okhotsk Sea in Russia and the North Atlantic coasts of Greenland and Scandinavia.

Ringed seals prefer to rest on the ice floe and tend to move farther north for denser ice. They remain in contact with ice most of the year and pup on it in late winter and early spring.

Ringed seals feed on a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. Fishing is a solitary behavior.

They are an important food source for polar bears and have been an important component of the diet of Arctic indigenous people for many years.