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 Hooded Seal (Cystophora cristata)




Hooded Seal | Cystophora cristata photo
Hooded seals, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec. The seal on the right is a male with "hood" and nasal membrane inflated..

Photograph copyright: Pete Cooper - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

Hooded Seal | Cystophora cristata photo
Juvenile male Hooded Seal.

Photograph copyright: Lynn Henneberger - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

Hooded Seal | Cystophora cristata photo
Young Hooded Seal being rehabilitated at Mystic Aquarium seal rescue clinic.

Photograph copyright: Shannon - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

Hooded Seal | Cystophora cristata photo
Hooded Seal release. Mystic Aquarium seal rescue clinic.

Photograph copyright: Shannon - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

HOODED SEAL FACTS

Description
The Hooded Seal inhabits ice packs and cold northern Atlantic waters. It has a grey body with dark spotted pattern, and a black head. Male hooded seals also have a black, crescent shaped, inflatable nasal sac that droops down over the muzzle, and can be inflated like a crest. The sac grows with age until it looks like a hood over the nose. The male can also inflate a membrane in the nose into a big red or dark colored balloon larger than a football, holding about six liters of air. He blows it up by closing one nostril and blowing up the membrane through the other. Pups are blue with light gray bellies and black faces. The pups become spotted after the first year.

Other Names
Crested Seal, Bladder Seal

Size
Length: males 2.3 - 2.9m; females 2 - 2.3m. Males are almost twice as heavy as females.

Environment
large ice packs and in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean

Food
deep water fish including redfish, herring, cod, halibut, and flounder. Also eats shrimp, octopus and mussels.

Breeding
One pup (sometimes twins) is born after a gestation of 11.7 months. The pup weighs about 15 kg at birth and is suckled for only 4 days, putting on around several kilograms per day.

Range
northern Atlantic Ocean near Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland, and down as far as New England

Notes
Hooded seals are hunted for their spotted coats and also for the blue coats of pups.

Classification
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Phocidae
Genus:Cystophora
Species:cristata
Common Name:Hooded Seal