Pinniped Species


Weddel Seal

Scientific Name: Leptonychotes weddellii
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Pinnipedia
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Leptonychotes
Species: weddelli
Other Common Names: Weddell seal
Average Length:

Females generally larger than males. 10-11ft. 

Average Weight:

Approximately 1,200 lbs but this varies with season and reproductive age.


They are not a migratory species and are found throughout the Antarctic. 


Adult seals have dark backs and white undersides to assist with camouflage. Weddell seals during winter months chew at the ice with their specialized incisor teeth to keep breathing holes in the ice open. It causes a lot of wear on their teeth. 

Diet in the Wild:

Squid, emerald rock-cod and Antarctic silverfish. Weddell seals typically forage at night. 


Weddell seals inhabit the sea ice.

Threats in the Wild:

Due to current issue with climate change, sea ice is being depleted, making it challenging to thrive in their environment. Fishing gear entanglement is also a factor for this species. 


The breeding season for Weddell seal occurs between mid-November through December with pupping typically peaking between September and November.  Pups are weaned after about 48 days.  Breeding occurs in the water and males become territorial over their breathing hole in the ice. Males reach sexual maturity at about 3 to 6 years of age while females reach sexual maturity at about 2 to 6 years of age.

Conservation Status:

The Weddell seal is classified as “least concern” according to the IUCN. 

Fun Facts:

Weddell seals groom themselves with their nails on their front flippers and in areas that are hard to reach they wiggle and roll on the ice.  This species of seals is very well adapted to diving; dives up to 85 minutes have been recorded and at depths of up to almost 2,000 ft.

Resident Animals: none