A curious adult leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx, underwater in the Errera Channel near the Antarctic Peninsula, Southern Ocean.
Michael S. Nolan/© Michael S. Nolan
Three different species of seals can be spotted along the Danco Coast: Weddell seals, Antarctic fur seals and leopard seals (also known as sea leopards). One look at the leopard seal, with its spotted coat, and the inspiration for its name becomes clear. Beyond its spots, the seal also shares the ferocious hunting instincts of the big cat that is its namesake. In fact, it’s one of the few seals in the world that hunts other marine mammals, including the two other seals found along the Danco Coast. (Various penguins also form a significant part of their diet.) These solitary animals live and hunt alone, except during their breeding season from November to March.