PenguinSpirit

Weddell Seal

p weddell1p weddell2   p weddell3

 

 

 

 

 

Size

Height: 3 m (11 feet) with the male being slightly smaller.

Weight: 550 kg (1200 lb).

Description

  • Coat color and pattern varies from spotted chocolate brown to bluish-silver grey.
  • Dark brown eyes.
  • Short whickers.
  • Smaller head and flippers than other seals, round, rat body shape.
  • “Smiling” mouth.
  • Favors fast-ice in Antarctica and Larsen Harbour, South Georgia, to pack ice.
  • Pup is born with a grey coat.
  • On ice or land moves slowly with “humping” gait.

Food

  • Antarctic cod/toothfish, crustaceans and squid.

Rookeries

  • Barely social in non-breeding season but will congregate around breathing holes.

Breading

  • Adults tend to be solitary except for breeding and pupping.
  • Females produce one grey furry pup in late September to November on the ice.
  • Pups weigh 27 kg (60 lbs) at birth; grow fast on their mother’s milk that is 42% fat.
  • Almost from birth the pup spends time in the water and soon is eating krill.
  • Average age for mating is 6 to 8 years but may be earlier with females. They may live to be approximately 12 years of age with the oldest recorded seal being 22 years old.

Predators

  • Killer whales

Other Facts

  • Weddell Seals will enlarge tidal cracks as breathing places enlarging the opening by sawing at the ice with their forward pointing upper incisors and canines. They swing their head from side to side. This allows the seals to winter on the ice shelf in Antarctica. Males actively compete and fight for dominance at these breathing holes.
  • Weddell Seals “sing.” They are highly vocal underwater. I have heard their muted soprano-like voices while spending the night at Larson Harbour, South Georgia. There were clicks, trills and chirps resonating from the water often coming nearer, then be far off and faint. There must have been a dozen or more singers. This probably is in connection with establishing breeding territories or mating.

Penguinspirit.com © All rights reserved.

Top Desktop version