Weddell Seal
Leptonychotes weddellii
The Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) is circumpolar in distribution and is most abundant near the coast of Antarctica itself. It is the southern-most breeding seal in the world. Compared to the other seals with which it may be confused, the Weddell is smaller-headed and quite round-bodied. Males may weigh upwards of 1000 pounds. The animal on the ice at right was photographed in January, 2002, in the Errera Channel of the Antarctic Peninsula with a Canon EOS 1V and EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS lens and 2X extender on Fuji Velvia. The animal in the next shot, resting on a rock, was at Cuverville Island, Antarctica, in January, 2003, and was photographed with a Canon D60 and the same lens as above.
On the right is a shot from Cuverville Island of a Weddell Seal as it heads into the water. A Kelp Gull is in the background.
The next two shots at right were taken at Half Moon Island, Antarctica, in December, 2003, with a Canon EOS 10D and the same lens as the shots just previous.
The Weddell Seal resting on the rocky beach in the next two shots was at Selvik Cove, Antarcticam in January, 2000. These images were taken with a Canon EOS 3 and an EF 70-200 F/2.8 L lens on Fuji Velvia film. Gentoo Penguins share the beach with the seal.
The next two shots show a Weddell Seal sleeping on ice at Coulman Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica, in December, 2001.
During times when the ocean is frozen over, seals will make a breathing hole where they can come to get air. A Weddell Seal breathing hole is visible in the shot at right taken at Coulman Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica, in December, 2001. In the following shot the snout of a Weddell Seal can be seen at a breathing hole.