Habitat Type: Marine
Comments: Associated with moving pack (sea) ice; prefers relatively shallow waters (less than 130 m) due to benthic feeding habits. Rests on ice all year, except in the Okhotsk, White, and Laptev seas, where in summer gravel beaches may be used. Spends the most time hauled out during period of spring/summer molt. Individuals may make and maintain multiple breathing holes in thin nonmoving (fast) ice, such as in winter in areas bordering High Arctic polynyas (Burns 1981, Reeves et al. 1992). May range hundreds of kilometers from the nearest open leads in areas of annual ice (Reeves et al. 1992). Juveniles sometimes are found in open water and may enter bays and ascend rivers (Reeves et al. 1992). Pups are born on surface of ice.
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