Keep paddling and you’ll run into tons of Ringed Seals, the smallest and one of the most common seals in the Arctic. They don’t grow to be more than five feet long and a full grown adult weighs on average only 150 pounds. Their diminutive size, in relation to other Arctic mammals, has forced them to become expert builders of ice caves and hidden lairs. This is especially helpful if you consider that they are the favorite food of both Polar Bears and Inupiat hunters.
So important is the Ringed Seal to the diet of the Inupiat, it has been called their “Daily Bread.” So hiding is an important survival skill and their lairs are used not only to hide from predators but also to give birth to pups. A female ringed seal will carry a single pup for 9 months before giving birth.
Ringed seals spend a great deal of time, sometimes months, beneath the ice eating cod, salmon and shrimp. They can live to be 40 years old, although the average life expectancy is 20 years.