They feed on krill during the winter. In December and January, they feed on cephalopods and fish as well as the newly weaned crab-eater seals. While small leopard seals feed on squids, larger leopard seals prefer to feed on king and emperor penguins. Leopard seals are expert hunters.
Another frequent inquiry is “What do seals eat?”.
Their diet includes mainly fish. They also eat penguins, octopuses, lobsters, salmons, eels, mackerel, and squids.
The next thing we wondered was; do juvenile leopard seals eat krill?
The answer is that research shows that on average, the aerobic dive limit for juvenile seals is around 7 minutes, which means that during the winter months juvenile leopard seals do not eat krill, which is a major part of older seals’ diets, since krill is found deeper during this time. This might occasionally lead to co-operative hunting.
How do leopard seals track their prey?
Their hearing in air is similar to that of a human, but scientists have noted that leopard seals use their ears in conjunction with their whiskers to track prey under water . Leopard seals are pagophilic (“ice-loving”) seals, which primarily inhabit the Antarctic pack ice between 50˚S and 80˚S.
Leopard seals are potentially highly dangerous towards humans, but attacks are rarely reported . Examples of aggressive behaviour, stalking and attacks have been documented.
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 ). But scientists fear further seal attacks as the number of people working in the region continues to rise.
Leopard seals have also been recorded attacking inflatable boats . United States Antarctic researchers had to fit special protective guards to prevent their boats being punctured. Linda Capper says BAS scientists are aware of such dangers and always take special precautions.
Tragically British marine biologist Kirsty Brown was killed after being attacked by a leopard seal while snorkelling in Antarctica in 2003. She is believed to be the only human fatality from the animal.
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.
Are leopards dangerous to humans?
While leopards generally avoid humans , they tolerate proximity to humans better than lions and tigers, and often come into conflict with humans when raiding livestock. Indian leopard attacks may have peaked during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, coinciding with rapid urbanization.
The next thing we wondered was, will leopards attack humans?
Leopard attacks are attacks inflicted upon humans , other leopards and other animals by the leopard. The frequency of leopard attacks on humans varies by geographical region and historical period.
Although this remains the situation in many countries, leopards are afforded the highest legal protection in India under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 —only man-eaters can be killed and only when they are considered likely to continue to prey on humans.
A question we ran across in our research was “Why are translocations bad for leopards?”.
Translocations are also expensive, tend to result in high mortality (up to 70%), and may make leopards more aggressive towards humans, thus failing as both a management and a conservation strategy. Historically, lethal control of problem animals was the primary method of conflict management.