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Seal Gifts and Sea Lion Gifts

Seals are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped. Their bodies are well adapted to the aquatic habitat where they spend most of their lives. Their limbs consist of short, wide, flat flippers.

Sea lions are any of seven species in seven genera of modern pinnipeds including one extinct species. Sea lions are characterized by the presence of external ear. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the northern and southern hemispheres with the notable exception of the Atlantic Ocean.

Leopard Seals

Leopard Seals

The leopard seal, sometimes called the sea leopard, is an Antarctic species of seal. While most commonly found along the coast of Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands, the leopard seal may also reside on the southern coasts of other land masses in the southern hemisphere, such as those of Australia, Africa, and the Atlantic side of South America.

The leopard seal is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic, measuring about 8.5 to 12 feet in length and 440 to 1320 pounds in weight, on average. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. It is outstripped in size only by the southern elephant seal. The leopard seal is gray in color, with darker coloration on its back and lighter coloration on its stomach. Its throat is closer to white in color, and is adorned with black spots from which the seal derives its name, as they are reminiscent of those of leopards.

As a fierce hunter, the leopard seal is built for speed; its build is much thinner than that of other species of seal, and it has a more flexible neck. It has sharp front teeth and molars that lock together, facilitating its function as a diversified carnivorous predator. The catalog of smaller animals the leopard seal preys upon includes krill, squid, fish, penguins, and other seals. The only natural predator of the leopard seal is the orca, or killer whale.

The leopard seal hunts in the water, often waiting at the edge of masses of ice until prey such as a penguin enters the water. At this point, the leopard seal seizes its prey in its mouth, killing it through force of impact by shaking its head vigorously to beat the prey against the surface of the water. While there have been reports that the leopard seal skins its prey prior to eating it, this idea has been found to be untrue; the leopard seal is unable to do this with its teeth, and instead breaks its prey into pieces of a manageable size by shaking it violently to tear it.

The leopard seal is solitary, tending only to congregate with other leopard seals when it mates, and even then only in small groups. To do this, leopard seals use acoustic calls to locate potential mates. Leopard seals mate during a certain time of year so that, following the nine-month gestation period, the female seal gives birth during the Antarctic summer. Prior to birthing, females dig holes in the ice in which they give birth to one live seal pup each.

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Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website.

Seal and Sea Lion Gifts




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