Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) is the most southern mammal in the world. It is one of the four species of Antarctic seals, collectively known as lobodontine seals. The other three seals from this tribe are Ross seal, leopard seal and crabeater seal. However, weddell seal is the only species from the Antarctic tribe as well as its genus. Among all Antarctic seals, it is the best known species.
The color of its thin fur coat grows dim with the age of the seal. Adult seals have mottled skin with gray-to-black spots and whitish-silver underbelly. In summer, it grows dim and turns to brown shade. The juveniles have gray-shaded coats for up to 3 to 4 weeks and gets darker with time.
It has a size range of 8.2 to 11.5 feet and weighs around 880 to 1,360 pounds.
On average, it has a lifespan of 30 years.
The maturity age for weddell seals is 6 to 8 years. Mating occurs underwater.
A newborn pup matures at around 3 years and it is about half in size as compare to its mother. It has a weight range of 55 to 66 pounds and gains 4.4 pounds every day. It is the only seal that can bear twin pups. The mother weans after 6 to 7 weeks.
Weddell seal is distributed across southernmost region of the world. It is found along Antarctica and its range goes as far as McMurdo Sound.
The natural habitat of these seals is the ice that surrounds Antarctica. They are very calm and docile animals that often live in large pods.
They feed on organisms like prawns, octopus, squid, shrimp, krill and other crustaceans. Every day, an active weddell seal eats up to 110 pounds while a lazy seal only eats 22 pounds.
As long as they are on the shore-fast ice, weddell seals do not have any predators. However, as they stand over drift ice, they become more vulnerable to predators like leopard seals and orcas.