Baffin Island: Floe Edge – Bearded Seals

While narwhals didn’t show up, it was a large bearded seal that put up quite a show. Bearded seal is an arctic species, the largest of the seals and genetically almost an intermediate step between seals and walruses. Adult bearded seals weigh up to 300kg/660lb. The “bearded” name comes from the facial appearance of many whiskers that the seals use to look for food at the sea bottom – they are prolific divers. Just like walruses, they use whiskers to identify shellfish at the bottom, but unlike walruses who suck out the oysters and clams like a vacuum cleaner, bearded seals crush the shells and swallow them often whole. Bearded seal pups are the favorite food for polar bears given the size and the fat content, but they are less abundant and much harder to catch then the more ubiquitous ring seals.