Jul 24 2014

Meet the Deadly Leopard Seal

Though most common seals appear cute and cuddly, this can be quite deceiving.  There are species of seals that are deadly, and if one is found within a close proximity of the creature, faces severe danger.

The Leopard Seal, that resides in the arctic, has been labeled as one of the most vicious and deadly predators in Antarctica.  WIth its huge, sharp teeth, intensely powerful jaws and enormous eleven-foot body, it was made to be.

Recently, a photographer for National Geographic unexpectedly came into close contact with one of these predators.  Though initially, he was terrified, didn’t know what to expect and was fearful for his life, the encounter ended beautifully.

threat show by leopard seal

As the photographer first noticed the seal drop the dead penguin in its mouth and begin to head over in his direction, he was struck with fear.  As the beast came within a few feet of him, when they were face to face, the seal opened its mouth wide.

At this moment, the photographer says that he had extreme dry-mouth and was trembling.  He didn’t know what to expect, but the worst, and was surprised by the what happened next.

The mouth-opening was a what is known as a threat display.  The seal did it to show dominance over the photographer as another predator.

Though soon after this, the seal returned to the photographer with a penguin to offer him.  The seal, after initially trying to threaten the photographer, came to the assumption that he was useless as a predator and needed help.  She wanted to ensure that the photographer, a weak predator in her mind, would not starve to death.


For days as the photographer remained in the area, the interactions between him and the deadly seal continued, and she offered him many penguins throughout this time.

Through this experience, which the photographer says was one of the most incredible of his life, he learned how to survive as a predator in the ocean, formed a relationship with a dangerous predator, and got amazing, one-in-a-lifetime photographs.

leopard seal and camera man

leopard seal hanging out

leopard seal on land