For male hooded seals looking for a mate, nothing's manlier than flailing around a hot-pink balloon.
Hooded seals look normal enough, swimming under ice sheets in search of food.
The impatient males fight for the right to wait by the female, who become available after they wean their pups.
Two males size each other up, get ready to rumble and blow a nose balloon.
They get their name from this hood-like bulb on the top of their heads.
They use it to demonstrate their manliness. Because nothing's manlier than flailing around a hot pink balloon.
There is a method to this rosy madness.
The males top out at 9 feet, 900 pounds.
That's a lot of weight to throw around. A lot of energy to spend.
If a bigger balloon can scare off a smaller male, that's a smart strategy.
But these males are evenly matched.
It's on to punching...shoving...and off-the-ice chasing.
The victor re-emerges to court the soon-to-be-available female.
Will his big balloon impress her?
He relaxes next to momma and pup. The hood now back undercover. Looking quite normal. Almost.