The leopard seal is so-called because of its spotted markings and leopard-like ferocity. They live mainly in the sea and on the pack ice around the fringes of the Antarctic ice pack.

Overview

Picture of a Leopard Seal on pack iceDistribution: the fringes of the Antarctic ice pack and a few nearby islands. Sometimes sighted off the southern coasts of Australia, New Zealand & South America.

Habitat: in the sea and on the pack ice.

Description: large head with huge, strong jaw muscles. Spotted coat, greyish brown above and paler below.

Size: length:- female 3.6-3.7m; male 3-3.1m
weight:- female up to 370kg; male 325kg.

Life-span: females 26 years; males a little less.

Food: adults eat penguins, fish, squid, sea birds, krill (shrimp-like animals) and smaller seals. Young eat mainly krill.

The leopard seal is so-called because of its spotted markings and leopard-like ferocity. It is the largest of the four true seals which live in the Antarctic throughout the year. The other three species are the Weddell seal, Ross seal and Crabeater seal. There are 32 members of the Order Pinnipedia (fin-footed) in the world, 18 of which are true seals. Then there are 13 species of sealions or fur seals - and the one species of walrus belongs to a group all of its own.

Read More: A life in the sea

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