February 12, 2012 Predators - Leopard seal
This journal is brought to you by:
- Jessica Hughes and her 3rd grade students at Jackson Elementary
- Becky Shimp and her 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at St. Edwards School
- Mrs. Toes and her 2nd and3rd grade CLUE students at Coleman Elementary
- Bailey Station 4th grade Apex
A Closer Look at…Predators of the Weddell Seals Leopard Seals & Antarctic Killer Whales
Predators and prey exist all over the world, even in icy Antarctica. Animals must eat to stay alive. There are creatures that are hunters and creatures that are the meal. Since I’ve been studying the Weddell seal, I wondered who eats them for lunch? Here’s what I’ve found out. The Weddell seal has two predators, the Antarctic Killer Whale and the Leopard seal. Let’s take a look at the Leopard seals.
Do you think the Leopard seal is a carnivore? Look at those long, sharp teeth! What a huge head - compared to the Weddell seal!
At twelve feet long and 1200 pounds, Leopard seals are the largest of the Antarctic seals. They are opportunistic eaters-which means if they are hungry and have an opportunity to eat - they do. Doesn’t matter if you are a Weddell seal, Crabeater seal or Antarctic fur seal. If he's hungry, you are likely to be lunch. So, yes they eat other seals and are the only seals to do so.
Look Out Adélie!
Even if you are as cute as one of the Adélie penguins- you are not safe! Leopard seals will lie in wait under an ice ledge ready to pounce on that first penguin that hits the water. Penguins themselves dive into the water wanting to hunt for food and have now become the hunted.
Leopard seals will gobble-up a penguin in 4-7 minutes. I don’t really want to see that happen but some scientists have witnessed it. It all part of the food chain here in Antarctica.
No Antarctic McDonald’s for Leopard seals. But if there was one, what would they eat from a Polar McDonald’s menu?
Sorry, that is really a polar bear joke and as you know there are no polar bears here but I didn’t want to waste a good, freezing cold, joke. Ice-berg-ers! Yummm!
Now, what would happen if a Leopard seal just couldn’t catch a penguin or a slippery seal that day? No worries, the Leopard seal could dine on seafood - fish, squid, or shrimp-like krill.
What’s in a Name?
How did Leopard seals get their name? It’s because their coats are spotted and they have long, slender bodies. Just look at this picture comparison. Leopard Seals are Sea Leopards!
Oh, but wait a minute! These carnivorous sea predators are also are prey. Check out part two of this journal series to find out who eats them!