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Hooded seal


Maximum 2.85 meters


Maximum 435 kilogram


Grey to brown


30-50 years


Mostly fish, but sometimes shellfish and crustaceans


Swimming and hobbling


People, polar bears, orcas and sharks



  • Dut: klapmuts
  • Eng: hooded seal
  • Fren: Phoque O capuchon
  • Ger: Klappmütze
  • Lat: Cystophora cristata
  • Dan: Klapmydsen
  • Nor: Klapmyss

Hooded seal

Young hooded seals have a typically shaped seal head, but as adults, they have strangely shaped noses that hang over their mouth. Males can blow large red balloons out of their nose. They use the ballooons to impress the females and score above other male competitors. Hooded seals live in cold, deep water around the pack ice, but sometimes wander into the North Sea.

On Texel

Een klapmuts in de opvang, Salko de Wolf

Since 1981, 5 hooded seals have been reported in the vicinity of Texel, and all of the live seals were brought to Ecomare for care. They were kept separate from the harbour seals to prevent the spread of diseases. They were eventually released in the North Sea far off the coast.

  • Distribution of hooded seals

    Hooded seals live in the North Atlantic Ocean around Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and Spitsbergen. They can wander as far away as Portugal and Florida.

  • Beaching along the Dutch coast

    Up till 1996, you rarely saw a hooded seal in western Europe. But late in the summer of that year, there were 4 sitings reported along the Dutch coasts. Two were still alive and brought to Ecomare and Seal Creche Lenie 't Hart. Dead hooded seals also washed ashore other North Sea coasts during this period: two in Germany, one in France and one in Belgium. Soome of these animals had a green paint mark on their back. According to a press release from the Seal Creche Lenie 't Hart, this was an indication of a hunting party on the island of Jan Mayen. In the spring of 1996, 2600 young hooded seals and harp seals were killed 'for scientific purposes'.

    DatePlace and details*
    30 July 1981 Rilland-Bath, male, 200 kilograms! (adult)
    9 June 1982 Ouwerkerk, female
    20 October 1988 Cadzand, male, 120 kilograms! (adult)
    5 September 1990 Vlieland, male
    31 August 1996 Oudeschild, Texel, male
    14 September 1996 Ferwerd, female
    29 September 1996 Scheveningen, female
    5 October 1996 Vlieland, male
    18 September 1997 Den Helder, female
    early June 1998 Waddengebied, newly born male
    24 August 1998 Den Helder, young male
    autumn 1998 origin unknown, young female
    6 June 1998 Vlieland
    1998 Terschelling, young animal
    2004 IJssel, near Rheden, young animal
    28 July 2005 Camperduin, young female
    * unless otherwise stated, beachings are of 0, 1 or 2 year old animals
    From various sources, including van Bree, 1996 and reports from seal sanctuary Pieterburen