The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
LEOPARD SEAL Hydrurga leptonyx

LEOPARD SEAL Hydrurga leptonyx


  • leopard-russ

Leopard seals are slender, silver to dark grey, lighter ventrally, with varied spots. They are almost reptilian in appearance with a massive flat head and gaping mouth with eight pairs of teeth in both the upper and lower jaws, the large canine teeth adapted for taking prey. Like Killer whales Leopards are leading predators in Antarctic waters, taking anything that moves from krill to penguins and other seals.

Females are considerably larger than males. Young are born on the sea ice September/ January. They are very similar to adults but have softer denser fur. Length: male up to 3.4 m (11 ft.), female up to 3.6 m (12 ft.).

Leopard seals are usually alone. They have been known to act aggressively towards boats and occupants.

Range: Although they are generally found all around Antarctica, on fast and pack ice, Leopard seals are widely distributed in the Southern ocean. They visit in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and other sub- Antarctic islands and are most likely to be found on sandy beaches.

The Falkland Islands Marine Mammals Ordinance 1992 protects all marine mammals in all waters, from the coast to the edge of the economic exclusion zone.

  • Leopard-Seal-baby




Sources include: Sea Mammals of the World-Randall R. Reeves, Brent S. Steware, Phillip J Clapham, James A Powell,Falkland Islands State of the Environment Report 2008 Otley H, Munro G, Clausen A, Ingham B. Wikipedia, Falklands Conservation
Photographic credits: Biffo Tuson, Russ Evans