Leopard Seal

Leopard Seal



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


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)
MALE 2-7 years
FEMALE 4-6 years
LIFE SPAN: 26 or more years
RANGE: Live in and around the Antarctic
HABITAT: No data
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/least concern
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


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.


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.


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