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Hooded seals have a light gray to blue-gray coloration with irregularly shaped light or dark blotches.
Males exhibit a characteristic enlarged nasal cavity (hood) which is inflated for display during courtship and as an aggressive posture for defense.
2.74-3.04 m (9-10 ft.)
1.83-2.14 m (6-7 ft.)
408 kg (900 lbs.)
317 kg (700 lbs.)
Various fishes, squid and octopi
11.5 months with a delayed implantation of up to 3.7 months
Typically at the end of lactation
Pups are born with a well-developed blubber layer and only nurse for 4 days on average
Can live 30-35 years
Throughout the Northwestern Atlantic and in the Greenland Sea. Small numbers of individuals are increasingly seen along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida. Individuals (usually juveniles) have been found as far south as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Gather in large numbers on ice floes to breed. Feed in deep, pelagic waters.
Lower Risk/least concern
Hooded seals belong to the scientific order Pinnipedia, which includes seals, sea lions, and walruses.
Seals differ from sea lions in a number of ways, including having shorter, stouter flippers, and no visible earflaps.
Hooded seals are named for the bi-lobed hood-an enlargement of the nasal cavity on the heads of males. The male can inflate the hood and move air back and forth between the two lobes. In addition, the male can also inflate a bright, red, membranous "balloon" that usually originates from the left nostril. The inflated hood and balloon are often used in visual displays for courtship, for dominance, and as a threat.
View tracking data associated with the hooded seal released by SeaWorld on July 9, 1997 -
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
As for other marine mammals, the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 protects hooded seals in U.S. waters.
Polar bears and occasionally killer whales are predators of hooded seals.
Hooded seals have been hunted throughout their range for their oil, meat and skins- especially the thick pelts of newborn seals (called bluebacks). Because of bans in the U.S. and Europe, the market for pelts is currently poor, which reduces hunting pressure on pups.
In Canada, hooded seals are federally managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). This protection provides annual hunting quotas for hooded seal populations, prohibits the hunting of pups (bluebacks), and prohibits the hunting of adults when they are on the breeding grounds.
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