The diet of the leopard seal is quite variable, and it is the only pinniped in which warm blooded vertebrates make up a large portion of the diet. Crabeater and fur seals (in the genus Arctocephalus) often bear scars from leopard seal attacks. Prey has been estimated at 45 percent krill, 35 percent seals, 10 percent penguins, and 10 percent fish and cephalopods, but proportions will vary along with age, seasonal abundance of food, and location. Leopard seals have also been known to scavenge the carrion of whales and other seals.
Animal Foods: birds; mammals; fish; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Eats non-insect arthropods)
- Boveng, P., L. Hiruki, M. Schwartz, J. Bengtson. 1998. Population growth of Antarctic Fur Seals: Limitation by a top predator, the Leopard seal?. Ecology, 79(8): 2863-2877.
- Kooyman, G. 1981. Leopard Seal-Hydrurga leptonyx. Pp. 261-274 in S Ridgway, R Harrison, eds. Handbook of Marine Mammals. London: Academic Press Inc..