Ringed Seal

Ringed Seal.


  • Common name: Ringed Seal
  • Scientific name: Pusa hispida
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Phocidae

Also known as


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.


  • Small seal with dark grey or blackish coat.
  • Pale grey rings on the back and sides.
  • Stomach is creamy yellow with black spots.
  • Pups have a soft, crinkly white coat which gives them their nickname “whitecoats.”

Fast Facts

  • Length: 1.4 m
  • Weight: 91 kg
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Predators: Polar Bears, Orcas
  • Habitat: Marine and Coastal

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S3 (Vulnerable)
  • Global: G5 (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. Ringed Seals are primarily solitary though sometimes found in loose groups.


Crustacean macro-plankton, some small fish, crabs and prawns.


Ringed Seal distribution map.

Seals and people

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