weddell seal

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by elockleynps
Last updated 8 years ago


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weddell seal

Physical ApperanceThe male and female seal can grow as long as 3.5metres and weigh up to 600kgs. Females usually weigh more but the male seal tends to have a thicker neck and bigger head. They have a short nose with nostrils that close when resting. The seal has sensory whiskers and an upturned mouth which looks like a great big smile. Weddell seals have forward pointing canine teeth to chew breathing holes in the fast ice. The fur is short, thick and mostly dark brown in colour with lighter patches on the back while the belly is white.

BreedingThe Weddell seal will use the fast ice to rest, molt and give birth in mid September to December. Females start breeding at the age of 4-6years old and will have one pup per year. These seals are one of a few seals known to have twins. On the fast ice females will form loose colonies of up to 100 individuals. The pup will only take 1-4 minutues to be born weighing 25-30kgs. At the birth the pups have very little blubber but have a thick layer of grey fur. as the pup fattens up the coat is shed generally within 4weeks. The mother cares for her pup for 6 weeks which compared to other Antarctic seals this is a long time. During this time the mothers fat reserves are drained. By 1 week old the pup has learnt to swim and is able to get out of the water and by 6 weeks old the mother has finished weaning the pup. The pup may weigh up to 140kgs the fatter the pup the better their survival rate will be. As once weaning has stopped the mother will leave the pup on its own. During the breeding season the males will stay in the water defending their breathing hole form other males. The males becomes aggresive and very vocal in an attempt to attract females and compete with males.

The weddell seal is a marine mammal and lives in Antarctic waters. The seal is found around the entire antarctic ciclre and has the most southerly habitat of any mammal. The seal belongs to a group of seals known as Phocidae or "true seal"- which means they have no visible ear flaps.

WEDDELL SEALLeptonychotes weddellii


DietMany consists of Krill, Fish, Prawns, Squid and Crustaceans. They are skilled hunters and can eat up 50kgs a day...thats 2 of me!!Predators: They are hunted by Killer whales and Leopard seals when in the water. On fast ice they have no natural predators but were once hunted by humans. Valued for the blubber and fur. The rich oil from the blubber had many uses. It was burned for heat and light, it lubricated engines and produced soap, paint and clothes. The Weddell seal is noe protected by an Antarctic Treaty.

HabitatIt was long thought that the Weddell seal stayed close to the Antarctic coast and fast ice, which is ice that is attached to the continent. But recent research has showed that seals are travelling alot further away from the coast. They dont not migrate and are the only Antarctic seal who live on the fast ice. Most of their time is spent in the water with only their heads popping out of the breathing hole. During the colder months the breathing holes can freeze up quickly and if not careful they can find themselves trapped under the ice. Weddells use their canine teeth to grind away the ice around the openings

BehaviourThey are docile and placid animals and unlike other seals they will allow humans to approach. Their very large body appears awkward and lazy when lying on the ice and during molting season they will use the sun to maintain they body temperture, often yawning and scratching itself. but when in the water the are swift and graceful. They are able to dive deep into the ocean floor and be able to stay under for over an hour.The Weddell seal is more active at night and vocalizes noisily underwater.


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