Pinniped Species


Leopard seal

Scientific Name: Hydrurga leptonyx
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Hydrurga
Species: leptonyx
Other Common Names: Leopard seal
Average Length: 8-11ft
Average Weight:

Males- 800lbs
Females- 1000lbs


Leopard seals have a very large range from the southern coasts of Africa and Australia all the way to sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctica in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.


Leopard seals are lighter on their bellies and darker on their backs with spots, which give them their leopard name.  They have very large heads and large, long front flippers, which they use to propel themselves through the water and sharp teeth.

Diet in the Wild:

Leopard seals are the only species of pinnipeds known to get much of their diets from warm-blooded animals including Crabeater and fur seals.  They also consume krill, penguins, fish and cephalopods.


Subantarctic islands provide the habitat for juveniles, while adults live on pack ice.


Breeding season occurs between November to February with most births occurring in October and November.  After 2 months of delayed implantation and 9 months gestation, females typically birth one pup at a time and nurse that pup for one month. Males mature around 6-7 years old and females around 3-7 years.

Conservation Status:

Hunting is regulated by the Antarctic Treaty and the Convention of Antarctic Seals.  Their numbers are estimated to be above 200,000, though they are difficult to survey for accurate numbers due to their location and range.

Threats in the Wild:

Loss of habitat and food due to melting ice.

Fun Facts:

Leopard seals have specialized lobes in their jaws which allow them to strain krill from the water.