More Leopard Seals in the Antarctic

February 20th, 2010 at 8:56 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Among the plentiful life we found in Sandefjord Bay yesterday were a fair number of leopard seals, most of whom were resting on an ice floe in the middle of the bay. You may recall my post about the leopard seals we had previously encountered, but all of those were in the water.

The leopard seals on the ice floe provided us with an excellent photo opportunity, as well as to study them in greater detail.

Leopard seals, just resting

Leopard seals, just resting

Among the things we noticed:

– Leopard seals are true carnivores. We could tell this because they have no molars, just pointy sharp flesh-rendering teeth. Their diet consists primarily of krill with penguin as a bonus (75% krill, 25% penguin, or so).

And here's the tongue as well - note the slick bottom side of the seal where moisture has flattened the fur, making it almost look bald

And here's the tongue as well - note the slick bottom side of the seal where moisture has flattened the fur, making it almost look bald

– Their fur becomes slick when wet. This was apparent when they lifted their bodies and we could see fur sticking up/out where they were dry, while on the part resting on the ice, the fur texture was not apparent, making them look shaved or bald (when in fact the fur was just slicked down).

– They really do have a very reptilian head.

– They are large and beautiful creatures (but I wouldn’t want to be swimming with one or have it think I was a penguin).

It may look like the seal is smiling, but I think it's looking at us and thinking 'dinner'

It may look like the seal is smiling, but I think it's looking at us and thinking 'dinner'

Many more photos I took of the leopard seals yesterday beyond those above can be seen on my Flickr pages, in significantly higher resolution.

 

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2 Responses to “More Leopard Seals in the Antarctic”

  1. Angela Says:

    But the smiley one looks soooo cute!

  2. Linda Says:

    I love the photo of the Leopard Seal. If you’re in a tux, resembling a penguin, he/she is probably thinking dinner…Or, maybe he/she is just in the mood for a dining on a parka this evening.