Spotted seals are inhabitants of arctic or sub-arctic waters. They are relatively shy and are difficult for humans to approach. They can be solitary in general but are gregarious and form large groups during pupping and molting seasons when they haul out on ice floes or, lacking ice, on land.
Mature adults generally weighing between 180 and 240 pounds and measuring 4.5 to 7 ft. The head of a spotted seal is round, with a narrow snout resembling that of a dog.