Bearded Seal

Bearded Seal.


  • Common name: Bearded Seal
  • Scientific name: Erignathus barbatus
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Phocidae

Also known as

Square flipper

Viewing opportunities

The waters off the North Slope of the Yukon and Herschel Island are the only place where you’ll spot these marine mammals.


  • Very large seal with large eyes.
  • Conspicuous moustache composed of very long whiskers gives it its name.
  • Sometimes referred to as ‘square flipper’ because the fore flippers are unusually large.
  • Darker brown coat.

Fast Facts

  • Length: 2.5 m
  • Weight: 350 kg
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Predators: Polar Bears, Orcas
  • Habitat: Marine and Coastal

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S4 (Apparently Secure)
  • Global: G4G5 (Apparently Secure/Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


All Yukon seals are phocids or “true seals”. They are sometimes called “crawling seals” because they do not “walk” on their flippers like sea lions, but rather waddle on their bellies when on land. Bearded Seals are not social and are seldom found in large groups. They are curious seals that are easily attracted. They do not undertake long migrations but sometimes can be carried large distances on sea ice.


Mollusks, crustaceans, octopuses, and bottom-dwelling fish


Bearded Seal distribution map

Seals and people

  • Marine mammals have long been a staple in the diet of Inuit peoples.
  • Their skin is tough and warm making excellent clothing that is waterproof.