The distribution of crabeater seals is tied to seasonal fluctuations of the pack ice. They can be found right up to the coast of Antarctica, as far south as McMurdo Sound, during late summer ice break-up. They occur in greatest numbers in the seasonally shifting pack ice surrounding the Antarctic continent. As vagrants they travel as far north as New Zealand and the southern coasts of Africa, Australia, and South America. Crabeaters have been known to occasionally wander far inland and die in the dry valleys adjacent to McMurdo Sound. A live animal was found 113 km from open water at an elevation of 920 m above sea level, and carcasses have been found as high as 1,100 m above sea level (Kooyman 1981, Rice 1998, Bengtson 2002).
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