which seals and sea lions can be found in antarctica?
Seals and sea lions are one of Antarctica's big attractions and spotting them during expeditions to the continent is very likely. Read on to discover the species you are likely to spot on your journey into the extraordinary...
The leopard seal is named for its black-spotted coat, similar to that of the famous big cat, though the seal's coat is gray rather than golden in color. Leopard seals are fierce predators, the most formidable hunters of all the seals and the only ones that feed on warm-blooded prey. Every austral summer, leopard seals wait in shallow water off major penguin breeding colonies to capture newly fledged birds going to sea for the first time.They have a surprisingly diverse diet consisting of other seals, penguins, fish and krill. Leopard seals have been seen as far north as the coasts of Australia, South America, and South Africa however their true home is circumpolar Antarctica. Read Andy Rouse's blog on leopard seal photography.
Antarctic Fur Seal
The Antarctic fur seals are the only eared seals that commonly live in Antarctic waters, identified by their visible earflap, dark coarse fur, and their ability to arrange themselves into a standing position. When not breeding on land, the Antarctic fur seal leads a largely pelagic existence, pursuing its prey wherever it is abundant. During the breeding season they primarily reside on sheltered rocky, sandy and gravelly beaches on sub-Antarctic islands with lush tussock grass clumps.
Fur seals feed on moderately-sized fish, birds (including penguins), squid and krill - with krill making up the majority of the diet. In one year an individual fur seal will eat as much as a ton of krill.