However, attacks on humans are rare.

Leopard seals are regular visitors to Australia and New Zealand, and wandering seals have also been found on the southern coasts of South America and South Africa. HDS33-21. [37] They are covered in a thick layer of blubber that helps to keep them warm while in the cold temperatures of the Antarctic. This specialized streamline body shape is excellent for propelling them through the water at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. The female leopard seal digs herself a hole in the ice and the leopard seal pup is born after a gestation period of about 11 months, during the Antarctic summer time.

They have long bodies (10 to 11.5 feet) and elongated heads. The 'Classic Antarctic' route. As far as size is concerned sea lions can reach a bigger height than the leopard seals, while the weight of both species is similar.
They are dark gray in color and can weigh up to 1,300 pounds. This feature adds to their already intimidating presence, and is not to be trusted.

Sadly, there is a flip side to Paul Nicklen’s amazing encounter.

(c) Seal Conservation Society 2011 | Terms of use | Website Privacy Policy, Orphan pup rehab workshop Dunedin Dec 2013.


The leopard seal is earless, about 10 to 12 feet long (females slightly larger than males), weighs between 800 and 1000 pounds, and always seems to be smiling because the edges of its mouth curl upward. Scientists attach this device usually to the head of the animal and it records depth, bottom time, total dive time, date and time, surface time, haul out time, pitch and roll, and total number of dives. This expedition allows you to hike, snowshoe, kayak, go mountaineering, and even camp out under the Southern Polar skies. Lacking the teeth necessary to slice its prey into manageable pieces, it flails its prey from side to side tearing and ripping it into smaller pieces.

Its only natural predator is the killer whale.

They also have a reinforced trachea to prevent collapse at great depth pressures.

The leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), also referred to as the sea leopard,[3] is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the southern elephant seal). Leopard Seal. [18] Lone male leopard seals hunt other marine mammals and penguins in the pack ice of antarctic waters. Location: The Antarctic plus southern hemisphere shorelines. At the end of these four weeks the pup is weaned and they part ways so the female can breed again. Weight: 200–600 kg.