Sea leopard photos and where it lives, animal food

Sea leopard (lat. Hydruurga Leptonyx) is an animal that belongs to the mammalian class, a detachment of predatory, the subfamily of nastysts, the family of real seals. This species is the only representative of the genus Hydruurga.

The history of the origin of the species

For a long time, the researchers believed that all representatives of the stalls were the descendants of one ancestor who inhabited the land. However, the fossilized remnants of the species Puijila Darwini were later discovered, which inhabited the Arctic of the time of myocene (about 5 million years ago). This species did not fit into the theory of origin from one ancestor. The animal skeleton was found on o. Devon, Canada.

This animal had some similarities with the sea leopard. Although there was much less length only 110 cm. Instead of fins, this species had paws with membranes, like a sea leopard. This structure of paws allowed to literally live in ponds with fresh water, enjoying hunting. However, it was hard to move around with such limbs. Just like on the ice, because the paws simply stuck to the surface. Therefore, at this time of the year, he preferred to look for food on the surface of the land. The tail of the animal was long and the legs are short.

The sea leopard was first described by Henri Marie Dyukli de Blenville a zoologist from France. This happened in 1820. The closest relatives of this species are Ross seal, and Wedell, who are recognizable in the scientific world as seals by Lobodontini. The name of the species itself can be divided into 2 parts: Hydruurga translated by a water worker, and Leptonyx small claw.


The body length of the sea leopard usually reaches 4 m. The mass varies from 300 to 500 kg. Often sexual dimorphism is expressed in size: females are larger than males. The body of these mammals is quite elongated and massive. They have a large head and powerful jaws, this sea leopards resemble reptiles. Forehead is almost not traced. The mouth of mammalian data is very wide, the lower fangs are the largest teeth. Fangs of the upper and lower jaw form a certain filter that scores organic residues from Kril.

An interesting feature of the appearance of animals is the presence of wool. Moreover, the dorsal side of this protective coating is darker.

In these mammals, both silver-blue and gray-hourly wool are found. There is a definition of spots on it. Wool changes its color to lighter on the neck there it can be snowwhite. Especially contrast is noticeable on the bottom of the neck.

The corners of the mouth of this water inhabitant seemed to be bent up, so it seems as if the animal’s face was disfigured by a frightening grin. Such features of facial expressions make you think that sea leopards are fearless and ruthless beasts. In general, this impression is true: these animals are constantly looking for their prey. When this predator is on land, it zealously protects its territory from the invasion of strangers. The predator begins to make sounds similar to growl and this extends to any living beings who try to get closer to it too close.

The shape of the body is streamlined, which helps the sea leopard to develop high speeds, engaged in fishing and hitting the water surface with its massive front limbs. The length of the paw reaches about one third of the length of the body.

Where it lives

This animal is Pagophile. The predator’s life cycle has a direct correlation with an ice coating. Basically, they spend time at sea, around the perimeter of ice crust. Young animals can be seen off the coast of Australia, New Zealand. They can swim past South America with South Africa. In 2018, the West of Australia visited one individual. However, the largest population is concentrated in the Western Antarctic. The settlement of the territory there is high.

Most of the population is located inside the pack ice all year round, that is, being isolated from other types. However, when the puppy was about to be born and his mother takes care of him, he does not abide in isolation. Some create entire groups, which contain only mothers with puppies. These social entities often travel north when the Australian winter begins. They reach the Subantarctic islands and southern continents. Sea predators who have departed from the colony can visit low latitudes, but they do not spend the reproduction season there due to fears for their offspring.

What eats

Sea leopard is one of the dominant predators in the polar region. The diet of this mammal is quite diverse. The basis of the diet is kril and cephalopods. Unlike other representatives of the LastoHigher, sea leopards are also hunting for other mammals inhabiting Antarctic. That is, they attack warmblooded animals. This is these predators and differ from the rest. Often, these predators haunt cribed seals. Their victims may become sea seals, eared seals, penguins with Wedell seals. Favorite foods are the jambs of such fish as an ice cod, Antarctic Serebryanka. Birds may become prey. Mammals are waiting for their appearance while under water.

Reproduction and lifestyle

Since these sea predators inhabit the places that are inaccessible to people, little is known about this area of ​​life. But the fact that polygamy reigns in the world of mammalian data reigns in the world of data. So, the male mates with several partners for the entire reproduction period. A sexually mature female, which has reached the age of 5-7 years, is able to give birth to one puppy in the summer when making contact with a male of about the same age.

The reproduction season starts in December, and ends in January after the mother leaves the mother.

Pregnancy proceeds about 270 days. Closer to the term of birth, females create a rounded hole in ice. The weight of the newborn puppy is 30 kg, and the length of the body is about 100-160 cm, at birth it is covered with fairly light fur. Mother feeds him for about a month, after which they are excommunicated forever. The male does not participate in the life of the cub, immediately after the end of the reproduction season, he again begins to lead a single lifestyle.

In the process of lumbering the female, the male often begins to sing, arched his neck and hitting the ice coating with his tail. Scientists believe that such behavior is an important part of their reproductive behavior, as well as stylized positions, which are reproduced strictly in a certain sequence even in captivity.

Life expectancy

This indicator in conditions of a conventional habitat is 20-26 years, in captivity this indicator is slightly reduced.

Natural enemies

These predators have almost no enemies, because they live in a harsh climate. The most important enemies are killer whales. A lot of cubs die because of them. Mammals also hunt sea elephants, sharks. They can pursue both puppies and adults.

Population and status of the species

The most numerous predators of the Antarctic is a seal-Craboed, Seal Wedell and the sea leopard. The population of the species is quite stable, today there are about 220-440,000 animals. Previously, the view was practically listed in the Red Book and caused concern.

Although the animals are safe and nothing threatens them, it is difficult to explore their life and behavior, since they practically do not go to land during the Australian spring, when observations can be carried out.

Features of hunting

The sea leopard has its own hunting technique. For some time he watches the booty from under the water, and then he is abruptly thrown to the edge of the ice and drags prey into the ocean. Such tactics are very successfully used on penguins and Kergelensky sea cats. Sea leopards use it more often on young animals.

But this technique is not the only. These dangerous predators can patrol coastal waters and then hide in algae or behind the ice floes, waiting for a meeting with penguins who want to hunt on Kril. But some individuals do not bother with this and lie, while waiting for puppies, who sometimes themselves swim too close.

The structure of the tooth of sea leopards also takes into account more than one power strategy: these predators have formations on cheeks that allow you to filter small crustaceans, thereby absorbing them and eliminate extraneous objects.

For example, there are always dominant females on roostering lies that drive away other female individuals and males from their fertile territories the rooks of sea cats. Most likely, the floor, the status in the colony and the hunting strategies, together with the habitat, form the basis of food specialization.

How to deal with prey

Due to the lack of paws with claws, sea leopards cannot hold their victim when cutting, which complicates the process. They are not capable of caring it, because they are huge and sharp teeth, like a shark, they do not have. Therefore, predators have to shake prey and rub it for a very long time. They can even beat the penguins about the ice or on the surface of the ocean by holding the legs, waiting for the death of the victim for the death.

The matter is also complicated by the fact that individuals are very rare and reluctant to communicate with each other. Often they go hunting and try not to meet there with more than 2 relatives. Only during the breeding period they actively communicate, and the males even sometimes arrange a showdown for females. But because of such a kind of nature and characteristics of behavior, scientists are not able to find out the features of their reproductive cycle. It remains unknown how individuals choose a partner and how they draw the boundaries of their sections.

Is it dangerous for a person

A person can also become the prey of this sea beast. It is especially dangerous right on the edge of the ice, because the leopard can take a person with him, as he is used to grabbing almost anyone who is so close to the water. If you still managed to break out, the sea leopard can continue the persecution on ice.

Because of this, an attempt to study these creatures may end sadly. Confirmation of this can be the history of an employee of the British Antarctic Service. The animal dragged him when he was at an altitude of 61 m below the sea level. It remains unclear whether the biologist really was the purpose of the attack or did the instinct worked, but the true nature of the sea leopards became clear.

In the past, there were also cases of attacks by a sea leopard per person. So, one of the members of the expedition 1914-1917, Thomas Fox, was haunted by a fairly large individual weighing 500-600 kg and a height of 3 meters. The scientist was in the tent town when he was suddenly attacked by a predator. However, he was helped by a colleague who shot the mammal.

In 1985, Gareth Wood, a scientist from Scotland, was bitten several times. This sea predator tried to drag him under the water very zealously. The colleagues managed to save the scientist they drove the animal for a long time with the help of his studded boots.

The only time that the death of a person came precisely from the attack of this mammal, took place in 2003. The predator attacked the kire of Brown a biologist who decided to explore the coastal waters.

This predator is inclined to strike the toe from inflatable boats. Damage is usually quite serious, therefore protective devices should be used to prevent them.

Interesting Facts

  • Sea leopards have a short mustache, which is needed to study the situation. These mammals also have a huge mouth, which occupies one third of the head;
  • These mammals have no ears as such, but there is an internal ear canal, which nevertheless leads to the exit. When the animal is on the surface, the hearing performs the same functions as the human. In the water, he works in tandem with a mustache when capturing production;
  • For the first time, the case was recently recorded when the hunt was held by two females. They changed roles: one individual kept a penguin, and the second tried to cut prey. There can be only one reason for this: the females decided that if others
  • go with other individuals for prey, you can lose sight of it;
  • Sea leopards can develop a speed of 40 km/h.;
  • An interesting incident occurred with Paul Nicked a photographer who decided to test fate and ducked into the waters of the Antarctic to take photos of the sea leopard. Instead of a ferocious predator, he met a female who took him as a puppy. For several days she brought him penguins to feed the unfortunate. She also wanted to teach the floor to hunt.
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