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The Hooded Seal

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The Hooded Seal also known as a Crested Seal is only found in the central and Western North Atlantic oceans ranging from the East in Svalbard to the West in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This Arctic seal also known as the bladder bearer due, to the appendage on the male's nose with its unusual inflatable capabilities. This bulge will make the head of the seal appear twice its size and is developed when the seal reaches four years. The hood does not become fully developed until the animal is about 12 years old. The males are much larger weighing approximately 880 pounds than the females who get to be about 660 pounds. The colors of their bodies are silver with irregular markings and scattered dark spots. The head has no marks and is much darker than the rest of the body.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence, Davis Strait, the front East of Newfoundland, , and the West ice near Jan Mayan are the four major breeding places for these magnificent animals. After the breeding season the hooded seal will travel long distances for feeding. They enjoy being together in detached areas on the ice for molting purposes. From June through the month of August. They separate again to feed during the late summer months into autumn and then in late winter return to their breeding areas.

The pups are born on the ice between mid-March and early April. Because of their two – gray coat when they are born they have been nicknamed blue-black. Their bellies have a pale cream color which molts away after about 14 months. The mother nurses the pup for eight days; this is the shortest lactation period for any mammal. The pup is usually at about 3 feet long and weighs about 53 pounds at birth, during nursing the pup will double in size. The females mature between three and six years while male pups don't mature until they reach 5 to 7 years of age. The hooded seal will live from 30 to 35 years. They can remain submerged in the water for over 50 minutes at a time if needed. These mammals live on ice packs and in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The hooded seal is a solitary animal most of the time, however they gather in large groups during the mating and reproductive season, the female is known as a Cow and the males are known as Bulls while in a group they have been termed as a pod, team, herd, rookery, and even as a flock for harem. They feed on deep water fish such as herring, cod, flounder, squid, octopus, red fish, shrimp, and mussels. They are not listed for high risk or as a threatened species this time.

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