Leopard seal Facts

Leopard seal Facts
Leopard seal is the second largest species of seal (elephant seal is the largest). It belongs to the family of earless seals. Leopard seal inhabits cold waters of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic and it can be found near the coasts of South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Unlike other species of seals, leopard seal is not on a target of hunters because of its skin. Major threats for its survival are global warming and lack of food. Despite these factors, population of leopard seal is still large and stable.
Interesting Leopard seal Facts:
Leopard seal can reach 10 to 11.5 feet in length and 440 to 1.320 pounds of weight. Females are larger than males.
Leopard seal has silver grey or dark grey (nearly black) skin on the back and whitish silver skin on the front side of the body. Black spots on the body of leopard seal resemble the spots on a leopard's body, hence the name. Thick layer of blubber under the skin prevents freezing in the cold water.
Leopard seal has elongated head, long, flexible neck, elongated body and long, pointed front flippers. It has strong jaws, long canine teeth and interlocking molars designed to extract the krill from the sea water.
Scientific name of leopard seal is "Hydrurga leptonyx", which means "small clawed water worker".
Leopard seal is graceful swimmer that can reach the speed of 37 miles per hour.
Leopard seal is a carnivore and vicious predator. It hunts and eats fish, squids, shellfish, penguins and other species of seal. Despite large size and fearsome nature of leopard seal, nearly 50% of its diet is based on the krill.
Leopard seal is an ambush predator. It waits the prey (penguins) hidden under the ice packs and grabs them in a blink of an eye the moment they enter the water. Adélie penguin is often on the menu and it is usually swallowed in 4 to 7 minutes.
Leopard seal pulls its long flexible neck backward (just like a snake) before the strike.
Leopard seal is one of the top predators in the ocean. Orcas and large sharks are the only natural enemies of these seals.
Leopard seal is solitary creature.
Young leopard seals migrate between June and October toward the north to find better sources of food, while adults reside near the ice packs all year round.
Mating season of leopard seals takes place during the summer. Males produce bird-like trills and low haunting moans to attract females.
Pregnancy lasts 9 months and ends with single baby (pup). Young leopard seal depends on the mother's milk until the age of one month.
Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 7 years, females at the age of 4 to 6 years.
Leopard seal can survive more than 25 years in the wild.

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