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The Hooded Seal Essay

1205 words - 5 pages

The Hooded Seal

Thirty-five species of seal can be found all over the oceans of the
world. They are found throughout the marine environment, from icy
polar waters of the north and south poles to the warm waters of the
tropics. Much like whales and dolphins, seals are adapted to the
marine environment with a streamlined body, limbs modified into
flippers and a layer of blubber for insulation needed for the seals
located in the poles. They also have a specialized circulatory system
that allows them to sustain prolonged dives while feeding which I will
say more about during the essay. Different seals also have different
characteristics, which make them different from other species; one of
these is the hooded seal.

The Hooded seal also known as the Cystophora cristata is named for the
large elastic sac that extends from the nose to the forehead that
expands into a large balloon-like ball. This only occurs in male adult
seals. The hooded seal is a large member of the hair seal family and
have a black face and a blue-gray coat with random patterns of dark
patches. The males and females have may differences, The average
length of an adult male is 3 m and they weigh an average of about 300
kg. Adult female hooded seals are smaller though, measuring an average
of 2.4 m in length and weighing about 230 kg. Hooded seals are known
to dive to over depths of over 900m for more than 45 minutes at a time
which is pretty amazing if you compare that to an average human which
is a low 5 minutes. The average life span of the Hooded seal is about
30-35 years of age, which is more or less normal for a mammal of that
kind, but some stray baby seals may be killed while they are young by
predators.

Hooded seals are very aggressive looking and aggressive minded
compared to much of the other seal species such as the Harp seal. The
males show their aggression by inflating the balloon like ball on
their face, which can grow to twice the size of a size 5 football. The
hood is an enlargement of the nasal cavity, which develops when the
seal is in its younger years. When inflated, the hood forms a balloon
on the head, when deflated the hood hangs in front of the upper lip.
Males also have an inflatable nasal membrane that expands like a red
balloon from one nostril. The hood and membrane are mainly used when
the seal is fighting for territory and also during fights in the
breeding season in order to gather attention of females.

The total hooded seal population is currently estimated to be around
650,000.This is a highly migratory species known to wander long
distances as far west as Alaska and as far south as the Canary Islands
and the Caribbean! Hooded seals are not easily separated into
populations, although three groups have been recognized, based on
where they breed these are: Off the east coast...

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