One animal you’ll surely see is the Bearded Seal, a solitary creature named for its lengthy whiskers. Bearded Seals rely on the flows in the frozen shallow waters of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas for hunting, feeding and pupping.
With their small heads and large bodies, these unusual looking creatures grow to between 7 and 8 feet in length. Imagine gaining 300 pounds. Bearded Seals do it every year. They go from a lean 450 pounds in the summer to a whopping 750 pounds in the winter. The weight gain helps protect them from the punishing temperatures of the Arctic winter when food is especially hard to find.
Despite the fact that they are loners who seek out ice floes to claim as their own, Bearded Seals love to sing! Their songs, sung underwater to attract mates, are so loud that they can be heard for great distances.
Voracious eaters, they tend to feed in the shallow waters, using their long whiskers to sift out their favorite foods: shrimps, crabs, mollusks, clams and fish. They are prized by the Native Inupiat for their tough hide, which is often used for boot soles, hide rope and boat skins.
Listen to the strange and beautiful sounds of Bearded seals in the water: