Leopard Seal


Sientific Name

Hydrurga Leptonyx


A normal sized Leopard Seal is about 3 to 3.5 m long. They weigh up to 380kg. They have elongated heads. Like most other seals, leopard seals are insulated from frigid waters by a thick layer of fat known as blubber. They are a Silver/Grey colour


The estimated population of Leopard Seals is in the region of 220,000 - 440,000 individuals. Leopard Seals are found in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters.


Leopard seals eat almost anything, including Penguins, Fish, Squid and other seals. Seals eaten include seal pups of crabeater, Weddell and fur seals. The feeding behaviour of leopard seals is easily seen when their prey is a penguin. Typically the seals chase or grab penguins in the water and thrash the captured bird back and forth until the skin peels away. The remaining carcass is then consumed.The only known predator is the killer whale.

Adaptations/Special Features

The whiskers feel for fish in the darkness.
Seals can bring their whiskers forward when they need to feel for fish in the darkness of deep or murky waters. A seal's sensitive whiskers can feel the slight changes in water currents around them when fish are swimming in schools.The seal has a body perfectly adapted for life in the water. Their body is shaped to go through the water with a minimum of resistance. This is called "streamlining". The flippers of seals propel them through the water. Fur Seals and Sea Lions use their front flippers to go through the water.


Leopard seals come on land only during the breeding season and only in pairs or small groups. Breeding generally takes place during November and December. Females dig a hole in the fast ice where they will give birth to a single pup after a 9 to 11 month gestation period.The pups weigh about 30 kg at birth and nurse for about one month. The female protects the pups until they can take care of themselves. Males do not participate in parental care.