We all have heard about the amazing creature leopard seals observe in and out of the water and play an exceptional role in Antarctic ecosystems. This Antarctic creature includes the number of facts and to explore them keep on reading this article.
Going on a cruise can be an amusing event, the breathtaking scenery, some spectacular glaciers and Aquatic creatures are what you wish to see. Right? But, what's even more amusing is to go on the Antarctic cruise and lucky enough to see a leopard seal in its natural habitat. Isn’t it breathtaking?
The cute looking aquatic creature Leopard Seal is also known as (Hydrurga leptonyx) which is an earless seal with leopard-spotted fur.
Leopard seals mainly found in the Antarctic and if you are lucky enough then you can also found them along the southern coasts of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It's quite interesting to know that after southern elephant seal, it is the second largest seal in Antarctica. With very long canine teeth and flexible neck, leopard seal is by far one of the top predators of this area. It is a solitary and noisy underwater animal.
Well, there are many more things and facts you should know about Leopard seal so let’s get started.
Besides their black-spotted body, they also possess an eye-catching thing, i.e. their smiling face. Well, don’t go with their cute simile as its just because the edges of its mouth curl upward, creating the illusion of a smile, and is not to be trusted. Even they are quite aggressive creatures that will always be keeping an eye out for their next meal.
Majority of animals are carnivores and Leopard seals are no exception. This unique creature has sharp front teeth and huge body which is enough to perform hunting. Although young seal firstly eats krill until they learn how to hunt, they eat penguins, squid, shellfish, fish, and smaller seals. They got hunting lesson from their mother and once they learned how to hunt then no one can stop them.
Interestingly enough, females leopard seals are heavier than males. The general weight of male leopard seals lie between 800 to 1000 pounds while on the other hand weight of female leopard is more than 1000 pounds and length upto 3 meters (10 feet). It is also interesting to know that Young leopard seals are known as pups having soft, thick coat with a dark stripe on the back and a light grey colored stomach with some black spots.
Scientists have revealed that during the southern hemisphere or austral summer leopard seals flaunts their vocal skills. They sing loudly underwater almost daily. Their singing sound has been recorded by scientists and scientist have noticed that this vocal practice is somehow related to their reproductive behaviors.
In order to perform the test of their vocalizations, scientists have placed underwater microphones or hydrophones where the probability of occurring leopard is extremely high.
It seems like leopard seal enjoys its own company. There are many types of seals often live in groups and play well with others but leopard is exactly opposite. They generally hunt along and are hardly seen with more than one or two friends. However, exceptions are always there which includes mother and pup pairs and mating pairs. Seals mate in summer and give birth after 11 months said sources. However, Scientists are still trying to figure out how leopard seals choose their mates and how they establish territories.
The reproductive behavior of leopard seals are pretty strange of this breed, males take a longer time to reach sexual maturity, around ages six and seven while on the other hand female leopard seals quite easily reach sexual maturity, so between ages three to seven. Researchers said that females leopard seals generally give birth to one pup per year born on ice floes. Here, the mother will take care of the pup, and teach it how to live and hunt.
It seems like leopard seals are trying to sharpen their hunting skills. Sounds frightening, isn’t it? The clever leopard seals know how to attract its food ( young seals and penguins). In this kind of game, the leopard seal will chase the young seals and penguins until it either escapes or dies and eventually they eat.
It is really sad to know that these aggressive breeds can even harm humans. History has some unpleasant stories about it, in 2003 Leopard Seal dragged a British biologist, Kirsty Brown, underwater to her death, said sources. It’s no secret that it can be really terrifying and dangerous too, to inspect these breeds.
Researching for such hazardous animals can be a challenging job for scientist but, despite being dangerous and challenging, scientists are trying their best to unlock many answers about leopard seals.
Well, if you ever feel to enjoy adventurous things or if you are going for an Antarctic cruise then, make sure to always keep an eye out on ice floes for sleeping leopard seals who are not seeking for meals so they will not harm you and it will not bother your trip at all.
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