Leopard seal

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Leopard seal
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Superfamily: Pinnipeda
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Hydrurga
Gistel, 1848
Species: H. leptonyx
Binomial name
Hydrurga leptonyx
(Blainville, 1820)
Hydrurga leptonyx range map

The Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the Southern Elephant Seal). It is most common in the southern hemisphere along the coast of Antarctica and on most sub-Antarctic islands, but can also be found on the coasts of southern Australia, Tasmania, South Africa, New Zealand, Lord Howe Island, Tierra del Fuego, the Cook Islands, and the Atlantic coast of South America. It can live twenty-six years, possibly more. Orcas and large sharks are the only natural predators of leopard seals. They eat Crabeater seals, consuming 80% of their young. They are large and strong. They have a dark grey back and a light grey stomach. Its neck is a little bit white with black spots, which is the pattern of a leopard's coat. That is how it got its name.