Here's a cute animal you should know: the ribbon seal. It's the most elusive of the ice seals, relatively solitary, and rarely observed on land. They are born with thick white coats but eventually develop the distinct black and white ribbon patterns they're known for. They also play dead when captured, until they can escape. And, obviously, they are incredibly adorable—just look at them!
Here are a few short videos you can watch to learn more about ribbon seals and to see their cuteness in action. First, here's a short video by Deep Marine Scenes that provides some facts about the seals. Next, here's some footage posted by Neil Fisher of a ribbon seal that was spotted in Puget Sound and in British Columbia. That video explains:
The ribbon seal (Histriophoca fasciata) is right at home in the icy cold Bering and Okhotsk Seas. Their striking and distinctive light-coloured bands make them one of the most easily recognizable seal species in the world. Ribbon seals grow upwards of 1.8 metres in length and weight between 90 to 148 kilograms. They're a relatively solitary species that spend most of their lives in the open ocean, but form small aggregations on pack ice during spring to give birth, nurse young, and molt. First spotted in Puget Sound in early 2012, this specific ribbon seal visited the temperate waters of British Columbia during summer of the same year. Far from home, concern grew for the seal's well being, as it appeared slightly underweight. Staff from the Vancouver Aquarium and Fisheries and Oceans Canada did collect blood and biopsy samples, which didn't reveal any immediate health issues. Subsequently, it was decided not to attempt relocating this individual, and instead, it was given a unique identification tag to aid in confirming repeat sightings. This ribbon seal's fate is unknown. There were concerns about its ability to find and prey upon unfamiliar food in such a different climate, as well as its ability to tolerate dramatically warmer water.
Finally, here's a video by Alaska Extreme that focuses on efforts to protect threatened ice seals, which include bearded, ringed, spotted, and ribbon seals.
Cute creature rating: 10/10