LEOPARDO FOCA: habitad, eating habits
Leopard seals are true seals and receive their name from the stains that cover their fur. This species is well known as one of the main predators on the edge of Antarctic ice. Although it is not the largest seal in its distribution area (the South Marine Elephant is much larger), the arrangement of the seal Leopardo to attack large dams has given him the reputation of being a very aggressive hunter and an excellent swimmer. On the ice surface, the Leopard seals spend time resting or taking care of their young and, usually, they do not try to capture their prey when they are out of the water.
Although Leopard seals obtain all their food resources, they must go down to the ground to raise and care for their young. Unlike other species of Antarctic seals, which are mudded on the ground or on the surface of the ice, the leopard seals are mudded in the water. Males apparently do not visit the breeding areas and do not participate in parents’ care. Breeding and breastfeeding take place on the surface of the ice, instead of coast without ice.
Leopard seals are perhaps better known for their antarctic penguin depredation. They wait on the edge of the ice for penguins to enter the water to feed and then chase them aggressively for a fast food. Young penguins, especially those that enter the water for the first time, are particularly vulnerable to the predation of the leopard seals. Although the penguins constitute a large part of their diet for some seasons, the leopard seal diet is more heterogeneous than one would expect. It is known that they eat fish, squid, krill and youth of other species of seals, in addition to penguins. Orcas are the only species that are known to eat leopard seals.
Like most Antarctic species, the remote nature of the Leopard seal distribution area maintains human interactions to a minimum. Although they are known for their aggressive behavior, they rarely point that aggression towards humans. There are currently no strong human threats for this seal, and scientists generally consider it a kind of less concern. However, the potential impacts of the expansion of the southern ocean and the ongoing climate change in the populations of leopard seals are not well known, so it is important to continue studying and monitoring this and other Antarctic seals.