Bearded Seal

The Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus), or Square Flipper Seal, is a seal found in or near to the Arctic Ocean. Its most characteristic feature is the whiskers on its face. When dry, the whiskers curl up giving the bearded seal a raffish look. Other distinguishable features are the square fore-flippers and thick bristles pn their muzzles.

Adults are grayish-brown in color, darker on the back, rarely with a few faint spots on the back or dark spots on the flanks. Occasionally the face and neck are reddish-brown. Bearded seal pups are born with a grayish-brown natal fur with scattered patches of white on the back and head. Bearded seals are unique in the subfamily phocinae in having two pairs of nipples, a feature they share with monk seals.

Bearded seals reach about 89 to 106 inches in nose-to-tail length and from 606 to 750 lbs in weight. Both genders are about the same size. The bearded seal is a primary food source for polar bears and for the Inuit of the arctic coast. The Inuktitut name for the seal is Ugyuk or Oogrook. The seals skin is used to cover a wooden frame boat (Umiak). The body fat content of a bearded seal is 30-40%.

Bearded Seal

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