Wildlife Wednesday: Ringed Seal

Wildlife Wednesday: Ringed Seal

This Wildlife Wednesday, learn about the adorable ringed seal and why it’s threatened by climate change and human activity.

Habitat: the Northern Hemisphere’s circumpolar oceans, and some lakes and rivers, but they have been spotted as far south as California and Japan

Ringed seal trivia

  • It’s no surprise that the ringed seal feasts on seafood, such as crustaceans. Other favourite snacks are Arctic cod and herring.
  • Ringed seals may be small and cute when they’re little, but adults can weigh up to 150 pounds. Even still, ringed seals are actually the smallest seal species.
  • Ringed seals get their name from the pattern of ring-like spots on their backs, said to resemble splattered paint.
  • Ringed seals have been dubbed the “classic” ice seal in that they depend on ice for survival, and very rarely come into contact with land. They use ice for resting, breeding, and moulting.
  • Being mammals, seals need to come up for air. To do this, they carve breathing holes in the ice. They can go for up to 45 minutes without needing to come up for a breath.
  • These seals have a wide array of predators, including humans, polar bears, and walruses—and when they’re young, birds and Arctic foxes can also pose threats.
  • Except for when they come together to breed, ringed seals are generally solitary animals.

Why they’re threatened
There five subspecies of ringed seals, and on December 21, 2012, four of these subspecies were classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Climate change is the biggest threat to ringed seals. Since they depend on ice for their habitat, melting Arctic ice poses dire dangers. By-catch when fishing is also a threat. Studies have also shown seals’ bodies to contain high levels of persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals such as mercury.

Related Stories


Caught in the Middle

Caught in the MiddleHelp for the Sandwich Generation- Twenty million American adults are caring for aging parents at the same time they\'re raising young children. Known as the Sandwich Generation, the

The Importance of Senior Fitness

The Importance of Senior Fitness- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), exercise and physical activity are some of the best things older adults can do to stay healthy. Even moderate ex

Grandparent Getaways

Grandparent GetawaysTrips to take with your grandchildren- \"No parents allowed.\" It\'s not a sign on a kid-only clubhouse, it\'s the first rule of travel for memory-making grandparent/grandchild vacatio

Comfortably Aging in Place

Comfortably Aging in PlaceHaving lived in the same ranch house for 55 years, John Heck’s grandparents wanted to make any and all necessary accommodations to allow them to peacefully age in place. Usin

Aging with Vitality, Grace and Confidence

Aging with Vitality, Grace and ConfidenceIt’s one of the great ironies of life: Your reward for surviving the tumultuous teen years, establishing a career and nurturing a family culminates in dry skin

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription Costs

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription CostsFor 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, the New Year means any new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans, or any changes to your existing pl

Popular Categories