My heart goes out to Kirsty's family and her colleagues at Rothera. The leopard seal has a distinctively long and muscular body shape when compared to other seals, but it is perhaps best known for its reptilian-like head and massive jaws which are enormous for its body size and which allow it to be one of the top predators in its environment. Crabeater weddell leopard. The leopard-lion clade was distributed in the Asian and African Palearctic since at least the early Pliocene. In reality, no way. Any penguin that doesn't stay with the group risks becoming the seal's meal. Its throat is whitish with the black spots that give the seal its common name. In the video above, Nicklen explained how an encounter with one particular female leopard seal was especially poignant. and In July 2003 Kirsty Brown, a marine biologist at Rothera Research Station (West Antarctic Peninsula), was attacked and drowned by a leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx).As a direct consequence, a study was initiated to analyse interactions between humans and leopard seals over the last thirty years utilising humanistic and observational data. The African leopard exhibits great variation in coat color, depending on location and habitat. The leopard seal is large and muscular, with a dark grey back and light grey on its stomach. Leopard seals might also hunt penguins, fish, and cephalopods. Any penguin that doesn't stay with the group risks becoming… more Topping out at 10 feet in length, the one-ton leopard seal is Antarctica's top hunter. As the sea ice melts ever earlier in the season, swimming to escape predators becomes even harder. However, on average, it weighs around 840 pounds. "isLogged": "0", But as human activity in the Antarctic … Feature Flags last update: Mon Jan 11 2021 01:30:08 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) The leopard seal is named for its black-spotted coat. Seals lack an external ear flap whereas sea lions have an external ear flap that is visible. Over this base color, leopard seals are dappled with gray or black spots. Some of the vocalisations made by leopard seals includes grunts and growls. While the females average 400 to 900 kilograms (880 to 2,000 lb) and 2.6 to 3 meters (8.5 to 9.8 ft) long, the bulls average 2,200 to 4,000 kilograms (4,900 to 8,800 lb) and 4.5 to 5.8 meters (15 to 19 ft) long. More specifically, interactions occurring at the ice edge, where leopard seals seek out prey, resulted in the highest response from leopard seals. A keen diver, she had gained qualifications in diving, including a commercial professional award from the Health and Safety Executive. 8(80%) Leopard Seal - Hydrurga leptonyx American Alligator - Alligator mississippiensis. As a direct consequence, a study was initiated to analyse interactions between humans and leopard seals over the last thirty years utilising humanistic and observational data. While penguins and other seals are their normal prey, humans have been targeted in truly terrifying seal attacks, with at least one documented fatality. See this image? When comparing a sea lion vs. seal you can spot the difference a few ways, one of which is the lack or presence of an ear. These two amazing creatures are larger than grizzly bears and are some of the top marine predators. Published online by Cambridge University Press:  This, along with its large size, allows it to prey on smaller seal species such as the Antarctic fur seal and the crabeater seal. "peerReview": true, Then the Leopard seal bites the Elephant seal on the side, but the Elephant seal's blubber protected it. This data will be updated every 24 hours. The overall length of this seal is 2.4-3.5 m (7.9-11.7 ft) and weight is from 200 to 600 kilograms (440 to 1,300 lb). 1,928 4. The muzzle, throat and belly are light grey scattered with dark grey and black spots. View all Google Scholar citations Start your Independent Premium subscription today. The females are larger than the males, but the male individuals still quite large compared to other types of seals. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Although leopard seal behaviour was generally described by divers as curious, the death of Kirsty Brown indicates that leopard seals can display predatory behaviour towards humans. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. "comments": true, 100 1. The response of leopard seals to humans in different situations was considered using a categorical response scale. "relatedCommentaries": true, Total loading time: 0.291 Hardly deterred, 397G generally "swims off very quickly, and almost immediately begins patrolling the shoreline for new prey. Leopard seals sometimes play with their food. Currently they are protected under the Convention for the Conservation for Antarctic Seals (1972) limiting kill to 12,000 in any one year. Ms Brown was investigating the impact of scouring by icebergs on the marine animals living near the shores of the Antarctic peninsula. (Your vote has been cast.) In colour, the leopard seal shades from almost black to almost blue on the flanks. Steingass, Sheanna M. In July 2003 Kirsty Brown, a marine biologist at Rothera Research Station (West Antarctic Peninsula), was attacked and drowned by a leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx). 2011. The station is Britain's centre for research in biology, geoscience and atmospheric science. They are dark gray in color and can weigh up to 1,300 pounds. * Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 11th January 2021. In addition, sea lions have a loud bark and walk on their large rear flippers versus seals more wriggle on their belly and have smaller rear flippers. If you should have access and can't see this content please. leopard seals and that leopard seals confronting submerged SCUBA divers may become aggressive after prolonged interactions. Please remember; ALL SEALS ARE PROTECTED IN NEW ZEALAND by the Marine Mammal Act 1979 (MMPA). A leopard seal-Mer hybrid like the one here can easily exceed 1,000 pounds and there are still larger hybrids. As of 2018, there are no leopard seals in human care. In size, it is nearly equal to northern walrus. Length: Males typically 2.8 - 3.3 m / females 2.9 - 3.6 m, up to 3.8m Breeding Season: Pups born on the ice usually from November to December, though may occur up to a month earlier or later. You're at the seal's mercy. The Leopard seal bites the Elephant seal on the tail, which was a good target for the start. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. In addition, sea lions have a loud bark and walk on their large rear flippers versus seals more wriggle on their belly and have smaller rear flippers. The leopard seal also referred to as the sea leopard, is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the southern elephant seal). In contrast, in most interactions (only a few occasions) where physical contact was initiated by a seal, in the form of an attack, the seal was not seen prior to the attack. There have only been a few recorded leopard seal attacks, including a single death in 2003 involving an accidental drowning. Bengtson, John L. They are, however, shaken by the loss of a colleague and will need our support," Professor Rapley added. 2019. Horning, Markus In 1913, an Algerian newspaper reported a leopard killed that allegedly measured about 275 cm (9 ft 0 in) in total length. More specifically, interactions occurring at the ice edge, where leopard seals seek out prey, resulted in the highest response from leopard seals. Query parameters: { The Elephant seal goes back on the ice. Leopard seals have a pretty weak bite, blunt teeth, and there skulls don't look built for ramming. Post Nov 27, 2012 #1 2012-11-27T13:19. Who wins? Its throat is whitish with the black spots that give the seal its common name. Last night, Ms Brown's parents, Tim and Judith Brown, her sisters Didi and Camilla and her brother, Duncan, were at the family home in Southwater, near Horsham, West Sussex. They have long bodies (10 to 11.5 feet) and elongated heads. DinosaurMichael. Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views. Although leopard seals are known to be highly inquisitive they are not normally aggressive towards humans. What sets the leopard seal apart is its elongated head and sinuous body, somewhat resembling a furry eel. The death of a British marine biologist in Antarctica last month is thought to be the first human fatality caused by a leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx). Her first degree was in geology from the University of London. 1,928 4. However, due to its sheer size and strength, a person would not want to antagonize or provoke the creature. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Smaller seals will depend more on krill, fish, squid, and penguins, while larger seals will attempt going after other members of the seal family. The last specimen in human care was a leopard seal found stranded on an Australian beach in 2007. A spokeswoman for the BAS said that Ms Brown was snorkelling at her study site in the bay adjacent to the research station with her snorkelling "buddy" when the seal suddenly attacked. Most authorities agree that the female, which is longer than the … Interactions between humans and leopard seals, British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK On behalf of The Kirsty Brown Fund, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102006000058. Stewart, Brent S. World's Deadliest: Seal vs… The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Quick facts. Leopard seals have never been systematically exploited. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. They are very strong animals and they tend to take over the areas where they reside. The bear's fur coat, and layer of fat would protect it from any serious injuries from a bite. Boveng, Peter L. The coat is counter-shadedwith a silver to dark gray blend and a distinctiv… Hindell, Mark They pulled Ms Brown out of the water and began resuscitation procedures in the rescue boat while taking her back to the research station for medical help. Topping out at 10 feet in length, the one-ton leopard seal is Antarctica's top hunter. Robinson, Patrick W. Safety review and risk assessment In response to the death of Kirsty Brown BAS temporarily suspended SCUBA diving (herein diving) and snorkelling activities while a review of diving and snorkelling safety was undertaken. Last Edit: Jan 5, 2012 15:11:59 GMT -5 by Super Communist Bradley Hanson, M. In 2014, a national census of leopards around tiger habitats was carried out in India except the northeast. They have a color gradient that shifts from white on their underside, to dark gray on their backs. DinosaurMichael. Kirsty was a vibrant, dynamic individual, committed to her science and with a promising scientific career ahead of her. We know that leopard seals are large, formidable predators, but exactly what they’re doing below the waterline has long remained a mystery. Kirsty’s incident is the only known account of its kind, given that physical contact occurred at the surface of the water, and the seal had not been seen prior to the attack. The leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), also referred to as the sea leopard, is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the southern elephant seal). When a leopard seal has eaten but still wants to play, they may seek out penguins or young seals. The Leopard Seal is the second largest of all seals out there. Vodmeister. ‘In water’ interactions, examined through SCUBA dive and snorkelling logs, generally described the seal’s behaviour as displaying curiosity and occurred most frequently at the surface. Shuert, Courtney R. Well, it's highly possible, infact there is even one case of human fatality attributed to Leopard Seal, though the animal never was able to eat her. Read our full mailing list consent terms here. "Despite carrying out cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for one hour, the station doctor and [her] colleagues were unable to revive her," a BAS statement explained. The front teeth are sharp like those of other carnivores, but their molars lock together in a way that allows them to sieve krill from the water in the manner of the crabeater seal. They are very strong animals and they tend to take over the areas where they reside. They can also be about 11 feet long. Erb (1993) reported interactions on land at Heard Island and on sea-ice on the Antarctic continent near Mawson, East Antarctica from 1992–93; providing details of physical contact between humans and leopard seals that The leopard-lion clade diverged 3.1–1.95 million years ago. The leopard seal also referred to as the sea leopard, is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the southern elephant seal). "metricsAbstractViews": false, The leopard seal is named for its black-spotted coat. They are dark gray in color and can weigh up to 1,300 pounds. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Render date: 2021-01-11T02:26:10.037Z The leopard seal’s disproportionately large head, massive jaws, impressive teeth and tremendous gape give it a snake-like appearance. The pattern is similar to that of the famous big cat, though the seal’s coat is gray rather than golden in color. Leopard seals are earless seals. Honestly a leopard seal would be hard pressed to do any significant damage. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Leopard seals can live up to 26 years in the wild. Leopard Seal. }. A solitary creature named after its distinct spotted fur, the leopard seal is endowed with a large head and wide jaws containing canines measuring up to an inch long. Its teeth are 2.5 centimeters long. 7,910 individuals were estimated in surveyed areas and a national total of 12,000-14,000 speculated. Hybrids and taurs can be much larger and generally end up about the size of the non-Mer parent. Hostname: page-component-546c57c664-mhvhn She was an experienced diver and had taken part in expeditions off Greenland and the Arctic since 1995, as well as in Australia and the British Isles. The females are larger than the males, but the male individuals still quite large compared to other types of seals. Leopard seals, believe it or not, have lots of spots. The only predator of the leopard seal is the occasional killer whale and humans. She then took an MSc in oceanography at Southampton University before moving to Adelaide University in South Australia. Polar bears are also far larger and at least on land much faster. - Pureblooded Mer are about the size of a human with a fish tail attached, 7-9 feet long and somewhat heavier than a trim human due to the muscular tail. Although leopard seals approached close to observers and displayed behaviour that appeared aggressive, there were no records of interactions where ‘curious’ leopard seals showed subsequent hunting, or attack behaviour. The Leopard seal bites the Elephant seal on the tail, which was a good target for the start. The leopard seal would not make a good pet. "figures": false "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", Bishop, Amanda M. This suggests that the commonly cited descriptions of leopard seals interacting with humans in the water are a distinctly different behaviour to that displayed in the attack on Kirsty. Females are generally slightly larger than the males on average. Johnson, Shawn Two Pinnipeds are ready for an Antarctic Showdown, as the Elephant seal and Leopard seal go head to head. It is a privilege to see leopard seals around our coastline and we should ensure that they are welcome and treated with respect. The geographic origin of the Panthera is most likely northern Central Asia. The male can grow as long as 3.5 metres and weigh more than 500kg, living for as long as 25 years. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. Out of all the stuff a pod of orca might eat in the Antarctic or New Zealand waters, leopard seals must be almost the very most dangerous. In our report below we mistakenly said that the leopard seal can grow to a length of 7 metres. They can also be about 11 feet long. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. Predators. Leopard Seals hunt penguins by floating in waters near edges of ice or land where penguins have congregated. Tuomi, Pamela A. "languageSwitch": true, The overall length of this seal is 2.4-3.5 m (7.9-11.7 ft) and weight is from 200 to 600 kilograms (440 to 1,300 lb). Close this message to accept cookies or find out how to manage your cookie settings. Crocker, Daniel E. "lang": "en" It can be a dangerous endeavor to try to study these creatures, and in one case, leopard seals have been known to kill a human. Out to Kirsty 's family and her colleagues at Rothera University before moving to Adelaide University in Australia! 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