Leopard Seal

Leopard Seal

Mammalia

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: leopard seal
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Pinnipedia
FAMILY: Phocidae
GENUS SPECIES: Hydrurga leptonx

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Leopard seals have huge heads with enormous jaws and a spotted coat
SIZE: May reach lengths of 3.6 m (11.8 ft.)
FEMALE Females are larger than males
WEIGHT: Up to 450 kg (992 lb.)
DIET: Diet includes mostly krill (a shrimp-like crustacean), cephalopods, fishes, seals (mainly crabeater seals), seabirds, and penguins (mainly Adélie penguins)
GESTATION: Approximately 11 months; with about 1.6 months delayed implantation
ESTRAL PERIOD Typically at the end of lactation
NURSING DURATION Approximately 30 days (wean)
SEXUAL MATURITY:
MALE 2-7 years
FEMALE 4-6 years
LIFE SPAN: 26 or more years
RANGE: Live in and around the Antarctic
HABITAT: No data
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/least concern
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Leopard seals belong to the scientific order Pinnipedia, which includes seals, sea lions, and walruses.
2. Seals differ from sea lions in a number of ways, including having no visible earflaps.
3. Antarctic seals tend to have longer, more pointed foreflippers than northern phocids.
4. The leopard seal is named for its spotted coat pattern.
5. Leopard seals have uniquely shaped cheek teeth that allow them to strain krill out of seawater.
6. An impressive hunter, a hungry leopard seal may burst through a spot of ice near a penguin rookery in an attempt to grasp a penguin chick above.
7. It may take as little as 4-7 minutes for a leopard seal to consume an Adélie penguin.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Antarctic seals, including the crabeater, leopard, Weddell, Ross, southern elephant, and Antarctic fur seals, are protected by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bonner, N. Seals and Sea Lions of the World. New York. Facts on File, Inc. 2004.

Byrum, J. Pinnipeds From Pole to Pole: Seals, Sea Lions and Walruses. SeaWorld Education Department Publication. San Diego. SeaWorld, Inc. 2000.

Jefferson, T.J. Leatherwood, S. and M.A. Webber. FAO Species Identification Guide. Marine Mammals of the World. Rome. FAO, 1993.

Nowak, Ronald M. (ed.). Walker's Marine Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Parker, S. (ed.). Grizmek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. IV. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1990.

Reeves, R. R., Stewart, B.S., Clapman, P.J., and J.A. Powell (Peter Folkens illustrator). National Audubon Society: Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. New York: Random House, 2002.

Reeves, R.R., Stewart, B.S. and S. Stephen. The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1992.

Ridgway, S.H. and R.J. Harrison (Eds). Handbook of Marine Mammals: Volume 2: Seals. London. Academic Press, 1981.

Riedman, M. The Pinnipeds: Seals, Sea Lions and Walruses. Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press. 1990.