Ringed Seals live in Arctic waters and use sea ice as a platform to raise pups, rest and moult. Ringed Seals create breathing holes in the ice. They use the claws on their flippers to scrape away ice to keep breathing holes open.
Ringed Seal habitat is strongly linked to the sea ice. In winter and spring, breeding adults prefer stable, landfast ice with good snow coverage, such as pressure ridges, bays and coastlines. Snow cover is important because females give birth in snow lairs. Female Ringed Seals can give birth to a single pup per year in March or April. Pups are born in a snow lair that protects them from the environment and predators. In the spring, Ringed Seals haul themselves out on the sea ice to moult and bask in the sun.
Ringed Seals eat a wide variety of small prey, including Arctic Cod, shrimp, and other fish and crustaceans. During the open water season, seals move around through areas where they can find food.
Ringed Seals are the main prey for Polar Bears and important prey for Arctic Foxes. Ringed Seals are also an important traditional source of food, fuel, and pelts (furs) for Inuvialuit.