Leopard Seal

The Leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx, is another familiar seal of the pack ice. However, it may be most conspicuous when hunting penguins near a rookery. It is the largest of the true Antarctic seals. The females measure up to 3.4m with an easily recognizable outline-a somewhat reptilian head, a sinuous neck and a highly-arched thorax. Its very long fore-flippers are also characteristic.

The Leopard Seal, like the Crabeater, has very complicated teeth, equally well adapted to straining krill or catching active prey such as fish or penguins. However, about two-fifths of their diet consists of the flesh of warm-blooded animals, birds (mostly penguins), other seals (usually young Crabeaters), and occasional carrion; about the same proportion is krill. Smaller quantities of fish, squid, and other invertebrates are also taken. (You'll see a Leopard seal killing an unfortunate Adelie by flipping it from side to side on the ocean surface in program 5!)


 • Leopard Seals
Information on the Leopard seal including taxonomy.
 • Seals
Links to information on the Crabeater, Elephant, Antarctic Fur, Leopard and Weddell seals.