The spotted seal begins to breed from three to four years old in females and four to five years old in males (1) (2) (5) (7). Most births occur between January and mid-April, usually with a peak around mid-March (2) (4) (6) (8) (9). The female spotted seal gives birth to a single pup each year (1), after a gestation period of just over ten months (8).
Male spotted seals are less aggressive towards females than in some other seal species (5), and are thought to be monogamous (1) (3) (4) (5) (8). During the breeding season, a male spotted seal will join a female about ten days before the female gives birth, and will then defend the female and pup on the ice floe (1) (3) (7). The male will mate with the female after the pup has been born (1) (7).
Although the spotted seal pup spends the first few weeks of its life on ice, it is able to swim within hours of being born (6). Weaning takes place at around four to six weeks old (2) (3) (7) (8). Newly weaned pups can only dive to depths of around 80 metres, feeding mainly on small crustaceans, but adult spotted seals can dive to 300 metres or more, and feed on a wide variety of fish, squid and crustaceans (3) (4) (7) (8) (9).
The spotted seal has a potential lifespan of 35 years (2) (7) (8), but few individuals have been known to live for more than 25 years, with around 45 percent dying within their first year (9). Predators of the spotted seal include Pacific sleeper sharks (Somniosus pacificus), orcas (Orcinus orca), polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (Ursus arctos), Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) and various predatory birds (1) (7) (9).