Common Name: Crabeater
Scientific Name: Lobodon carcinophaga
seals are the most numerous of the world's seals.
There are millions of crabeater seals. After
the pups are born, a male will join and defend the female,
waiting for his chance to breed. Crabeater seals
can be found in large numbers but are more likely observed
alone or in small groups. A crabeater seal usually
feeds at night, will spend 8-10 hours feeding, and will make
over 100 dives.
and females are similar in size, reaching lengths of 2.5m
and weights of 400kg.
seals have one main food item, krill, which is an
abundant shrimp-like crustacean that is found all around Antarctica.
are capable of diving to depths of up to 250m, but usually
feed within the upper 20m of the water column.
breed on the ice from late September to early November. Females
give birth to a single pup which is weaned 3-4 weeks after
birth. During this time the female spends the entire time
on the ice with the pup.
During the breeding season the female and pup are usually
accompanied by a male which mates with the female when she
comes into oestrous. The male plays no part in bringing up
the pup, and the group disbands once the pup is weaned.
occurs in January and February. Seals spend most of their
time on the ice when moulting.
seals inhabit the pack ice zone surrounding Antarctica.
On rare occasions they may be found on the South African coasts,
South American coasts, Australian and New Zealand coasts,
and the islands that surround Antarctica.
it was once thought that there may be over 15 million crabeater
seals. There is currently no reliable estimate of the abundance
of crabeater seals. An international group
of scientists is currently collaborating to decide a good
seals have been known to live for forty years.
seals are a major predator of crabeater seals,
particularly of young pups. Most adult crabeater seals have
large scars as a result of unsuccessful predation by leopard
seals when they were younger.
seals can move large distances through the pack-ice,
due to both active movement and passive movement on drifting
ice floes. They generally move southwards in spring, and northwards
in autumn, with the seasonal contraction and expansion of
seals will weigh up to 500 pounds with the female
being larger. They will reach 7 feet in length. At the end
of summer they are almost white. The teeth of crabeater seals may be the most specialized of any carnivore. The crabeater
seal may be the fastest of all the pinnipeds on ice, faster
than a man can run.