Day 29-32 of 68 – Antarctica – Part 6 Our Last Look

February 8, 2018 Paul Groves

During our cruise we saw 3 varieties of seals: Fur, Crabeater, and Leopard. Contrary to their name these seals all make krill the bulk of their diet. All varieties have a single pup per year. The females mate almost immediately after giving birth but can hold the fertilized egg in suspended animation for a few months until the previously delivered pup is well on its way to independence.

Fur seals are the only variety of seal that can walk on all four limbs. As recent as 1933 it’s population was estimated at 60. Today after active protection, the population is estimated at 65,000.

Crabeater seals are probably the most common seal. Pups will only nurse for 3 weeks before being considered weaned. Their main enemies are Orcas (killer whales) and Leopard seals.

Leopard seals are usually only seen alone. While their main diet is krill, they have been know to eat Crabeater seal pups and young penguins for their blubber content. Little else is known about them.

And finally, yes this is another penguin picture. I just had to include it because it was so darn cute. Our next port after the Antarctic is the Falkland Islands.