It's just SNOT that flattering! Pictures capture the stomach-churning moment a hooded seal inflates his NOSE in an attempt to impress potential mates
Incredible new images capture the bizarre mating ritual of hooded seals in which the male inflates a huge blood-red sac from its nostril to attract the attention of potential mates.
The unique courting technique was snapped by wildlife photographer Sylvain Cordier in the Magdadalen Islands, Canada, during the species' mating season.
Male hooded seals grow a cavity within their left nostril that is highly elastic – and can be quickly expanded using air to try to tempt potential mates.
This crimson sac is only displayed when a competitor approaches in order to discourage them from trying to steal away the female.
Mr Cordier, 72, said witnessing the 'amazing' scene was a 'dream come true'. However, the French photographer was sure to keep his distance, as the 400 kilogram (880lb) animals become aggressive during mating season.
Mr Cordier said: 'Hooded seals are very aggressive and therefore it is difficult to get near them.
Named after their inflatable nasal cavities, hooded seals boast one of the strangest courting displays in the animal kingdom – filling an elasticated hood that covers the top-half of their skulls with air.
This creates a balloon-like sac beneath the skin on top of their head.
As well as this hood, the animals have an inflatable left nostril that is sometimes used in sexual displays.
To flaunt it, the seal blocks off its right nostril and pushes air into the other, inflating an elasticated membrane that shines bright red due to the blood coursing through it.
The species boasts one of the strangest courting displays in the animal kingdom - filling an elasticated hood over its nose with air to produce a balloon-like sac on top of their head (pictured)
Hooded seals are territorial creatures with aggressive personalities that are found in parts of Canada and Russia within the Arctic circle.
Males boast one of the strangest courtship displays in the animal kingdom, inflating air sacs in their heads to make themselves appear larger to potential mates and rivals.
The species is named after the inflatable hood on top of the male's head, which is elastic and is inflated through normal breathing.
As well as an air sac on top of the head, hooded seals have an inflatable left nostril that is sometimes used in sexual displays. To flaunt it, the seal blocks off its right nostril and pushes air into the other, inflating an elasticated membrane that glows bright red due to the blood flowing through it (pictured)
It uses this hood to produce sounds to ward off predators and other seals who are competing for food, mates and other resources.
As well as its nasal hood, the species also has an air sac in its left nostril that it uses in some sexual displays.
This is inflated by blocking off the right nostril and blowing air into it, producing a balloon-like pink sac that dangles from the nose.
The male only inflates this second sac when a competitor approaches in order to look more impressive and to discourage them from trying to compete for the female.
Mr Cordier said of his stunning photographs: 'It was like a dream come true – I had wanted to see hooded seals for a very long time.
Hooded seals largely live on drifting pack ice and in deep water in the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic, with an estimated 650,000 living in the wild.
The species eats krill, squid, mussels, fish and crustaceans, including deep-sea crabs.
Hooded seals are unusually solitary for a seal species, spending most of their life alone except for during mating season, when they gather in large groups.