Habitat Type: Marine
Comments: Nonbreeders occur in flaw zone and moving pack ice during breeding season; congregate along leads in ice in late spring. In summer all age classes and both sexes occur along edge of permanent ice pack and in near-shore ice remnants. Some, mainly juveniles, occupy ice-free areas through the summer. In winter, maintains individual breathing holes through ice and is able to inhabit areas of continuous ice cover. Individuals seasonally use one or more lairs under snow (Kelly and Quakenbush 1990). Relict lake-dwelling populations occur in the Baltic region. Highest densities of breeding adults occur on stable landfast ice; stable pack ice also is important in some areas (Sea of Okhotsk, Baffin Bay); some are born on drifting pack ice of the northern Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean (Reeves et al. 1992). In most areas pups born in den made under snow by female or in natural snow cave, above breathing hole through ice (Frost and Lowry 1981).