Hooded seal Facts

Hooded seal Facts
Hooded seal is a type of Arctic seal that belongs to the order Pinnipedia. Its closest relatives are seals, walruses and sea lions. Hooded seal inhabits North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. It can be found near the Svalbard, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland. Main threat to survival of hooded seal is hunt. People hunt hooded seals because of their skin, fur and meat. They are not listed as endangered species at the moment.
Interesting Hooded seal Facts:
Males of hooded seals are larger than females. They can reach 9 to 10 feet in length and weigh of 900 pounds. Females are usually 6 to 7 feet long, with 700 pounds of weight.
Body of hooded seal is covered with thick fur that is usually grey or blue-gray in color. Fur is covered with irregular spots that can be light or dark in color.
The most prominent feature on the body of hooded seal is a hood that looks like a large red balloon when inflated.
Hood is an enlargement of the nasal cavity. It can be seen only in males. Hood starts to develop at the age of 4 years, and it becomes fully developed at age of 12 years.
Average hood is two times bigger than the football, with a volume of around 6.3 liters. When inflated, hood doubles the size of the seal's head.
Males inflate their hood when they are threatened or excited. Hood plays important role during mating season. Males with larger hoods have better chances to mate.
Hooded seals have large flippers, used for swimming. Flippers end with sharp claws.
Hooded seal spends parts of its life on ice blocks that are floating in the ocean, and other part in the water, where it is searching for food.
Hooded seal is carnivore (meat-eater). It usually eats fish such as redfish, herring, cod, and capelin. Besides fish, hooded seal hunts octopuses, shrimps, squids and mussels.
Main predators of hooded seal are killer whales, sharks and polar bears.
Hooded seal is solitary animal. It gathers with other hooded seals only during mating season.
Group of hooded seals is known as pod, harem, colony, flock, herd and rockery.
Pregnancy in hooded seals lasts 11 months and it ends with a single baby. Hooded seals have the shortest period of lactation (breast-feeding) of all mammals. Babies suckle only four to five days.
Although suckling lasts only couple of days, mother's milk is rich in fat and babies can double their size immediately. After this period, young hooded seals can start eating like adult animals. Hooded seals reach sexual maturity at the age of five years.
Hooded seals have long lifespan. They can survive between 30 and 35 years in the wild. Captive hooded seals are prone to tuberculosis and cranial infections.

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