Leopard Seal

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Leopard Seal

This seal gets its common name from the numerous dark spots on its coat.

The name leopard seal, though, is sometimes also applied to other spotted seals, such as the Weddell's seal.

A solitary seal, it has huge canine teeth and massive jaws.

Generally it feeds on krill, which it strains from the water with its specialized teeth.

It is the only seal that preys on warm-blooded animals; it catches penguins and even other seals, which it pursues underwater.

A fast swimmer, it also preys on fish and squid.

Animal Facts

Name: Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx)

Family: Phocidae (Earless Seals)

Range: Antarctic ocean and shores; occasionally along coasts of South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand

Habitat: Coastal waters and shores

Diet: Krill, squid, smallers seals, penguins, and other birds

Total Length: 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.6 m)

Weight: 440 to 990 pounds (200 to 450 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating November to February, implantation believed delayed about 60 days; gestation 250 to 270 days, one pup born

Description: Silver or gray coat with variable dark spots; sinuous, massive body; wide at the shoulders; no forehead; wide, deep lower jaw; long, broad fore-flippers; clawed fingertips

Conservation Status: Common