Pinniped Species


Bearded Seal

Scientific Name: Erignathus barbatus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Erignathus
Species: barbatus
Other Common Names: Bearded Seal
Average Length: 7-8ft.
Average Weight: 575-800lbs (Females slightly larger)

Bearded seals inhabit the Arctic Ocean and have a circumpolar distribution. 


These seals have short snouts with long, white whiskers, which give them the appearance of being “bearded.” Their fur is dark brown to gray in color with dark rings and spots present. They are the largest species of arctic seal.

Diet in the Wild:

Arctic cod, shrimp, clams, crabs, and octopus.


Bearded seals are most commonly found with drifting sea ice and do not inhabit waters less than 650 ft. deep. 


Females will reach sexual maturity at 5 years of age, males at 6-7 years of age. Single pups are typically born on pack-ice between mid-March and May and are weaned at 15 days old. There is not a great deal known about bearded seal mating rituals, though they are known to be extremely vocal; male vocals can be heard for up to 12 miles. 

Conservation Status:

Bearded seals are considered to be a “Low Risk-Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List though two distinct population segments are listed under the Endangered Species Act: Beringia & Okhotsk. In addition, Bearded seals are harvested annually by Alaskan Natives.

Threats in the Wild:

Bearded seals are occasionally by-catch in commercial fishing gear and in Russia, they are hunted commercially. In addition, the loss of sea ice results in habitat loss.

Fun Facts:

In 2007, a Bearded seal was found stranded in Southeast Florida. 

Resident Animals: none