The leopard seal is the second largest species of seal in Antarctica. While the southern elephant seals mostly live away from the Antarctica, only visiting for hunting, breeding, and resting, the leopard seal makes its home on the shores of the frozen desert Continent. They are much smaller than their elephant seal relatives, ranging from 440-1,300
For a number of reasons the leopard seal is much harder to survey than the southern elephant. In the first place, they are solitary animals. However, they also spend a significant portion of the spring and summer months, when scientific surveys most commonly occur,
underwater. While underwater males will vocalize, which has allowed them to be surveyed acoustically. Underwater, the seal will hang upside down and sing with his back bent, rocking from side to side.
Like birds, leopard seals have age-related differences in their calling patterns. Younger seals will have many different styles of calling; older seals have utilize only a few, highly stylized calls ranging from bird-like trills to low, piercing moans. Each male is capable of producing a distinctive song, believed to be linked to their breeding behavior.
In the water. leopard seals are bold, curious, and often playful. Their most common prey are fish, krill, and squid, but larger leopard seals will also eat penguins. Though they often prey upon penguins, leopard seals will sometimes play with a penguin it does not intend to eat. Though leopard seals have been known to attack divers, a leopard seal once famously developed a close relationship with a photographer for National Geographic, bringing him penguins in an effort, it is thought, to teach the photographer how to hunt.