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Leopard Seal vs Sea Lion – Which is more powerful



Leopard Seal vs Sea Lion - Which is more powerful

Have you ever thought about who would win a fight between seals and sea lions, their “second cousins”?

Seals, sea lions, and walrus are all pinnipeds, which means “fin-footed” in Latin.

Leopard seals have a reputation for being ferocious! In general, an animal that feeds on cute tiny penguins gets a bad rap.

Leopard seals are intelligent and powerful predators in reality.

The Steller sea lion is the largest member of the Otariidae family, which includes all sea lions and fur seals.

Georg Wilhelm Steller, a German surgeon, and naturalist on the Bering expedition were the first to describe and write about Steller sea lions in 1742.

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What do they look like?

Leopard Seal vs Sea Lion - Which is more powerful

Leopard seals Appearance

Leopard seals are carnivorous creatures with a long, smooth body, rounded head, large snouts, huge mouths, and flippers on all four feet,

which enclose both their elbows and knees.

The dark gray or black coloring on the head and back, as well as the white or light gray around the belly, define this species, which is covered in a thin coat of fur.

The black markings around the white sections of the body are the species’ most distinctive feature.

Leopard seals can grow to be 12 feet (3.5 meters) long and weigh 840 pounds (380 kg). This makes them one of the world’s largest and most terrifying seals.

Females actually outweigh males by a considerable margin.

Leopard Seal vs Sea Lion - Which is more powerful

Steller sea lion Appearance

Steller sea lions are similar in appearance to California sea lions and are sometimes confused with them. Giant Otter vs Honey Badger – Who Would Win a Fight?

Steller sea lions, on the other hand, are significantly larger and lighter in color. Males can reach 11 feet (3.3 meters) in length and weigh about 2,500 pounds (1133 kg).

Females are much smaller, reaching 9 feet (2.7 m) in length and weighing 1,000 pounds (453 kg).

The color of Steller sea lions ranges from light tan to reddish-brown. They have a bulky, bear-like skull and a blunt face.

Adult males do not have a visible sagittal crest as is seen in adult male California sea lions.

Adult male Steller sea lions have a bulky build and a very thick neck with longer fur that resembles a lion’s mane, hence the name “sea lion.”

Where do they live?

Habitat of Leopard seals

Leopard seals are most commonly seen in the waters surrounding western Antarctica, however, they are known to live throughout the continent’s oceans.

They’ve also been seen off the shores of South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Leopard seals spend their entire lives in Antarctic waters, hunting and living among the pack ice.

During the summer, they hunt around the ice’s borders and give birth on ice floes.

Habitat of Steller sea lion

From Japan to Central California, Steller sea lions can be found in the coastal seas of the northern Pacific Ocean.

Breeding occurs in areas ranging from Año Nuevo Island in Central California to the Kuril Islands north of Japan,

with the greatest concentration of rookeries, or breeding grounds, in the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

Steller sea lions in U.S. waters are divided into two distinct population groups: the Western and Eastern populations.

The difference is based on genetic and morphological distinctions, as well as disparities in population trends between the two regions.

What do they eat and how do they hunt?

Leopard Seal vs Sea Lion - Which is more powerful

Prey and Hunting strategy of Leopard seals

Leopard seals are built for speed, they have a large powerful head, a huge gape, and a massive lower jaw.

They frequent the edge of the pack ice and in particular areas around penguin rookeries all around Antarctica.

As predators, they are fairly opportunistic, eating everything from krill to penguins to the young of other seals, especially crabeaters.

Their canines are big and curved, similar to those of a carnivore.

Their way of dealing with penguins is pretty awful. When a penguin is caught by its head or feet. PITBULL VS HONEY BADGER – Who would win a fight?

it is violently swung in a wide direction and slapped down on the sea’s surface.

The leopard seal may continue to do this until the penguin’s skin and feathers are actually ripped off its body, which the seal will then bite into chunks and devour.

Floating penguin skins in the sea indicate the presence of leopard seals.

Steller Sea Lion | Steller sea lions on the Rogue Reef Unit … | Flickr

Prey and Hunting strategy of Steller sea lion

Steller sea lions are predators that eat a wide variety of prey,

hunting and eating primarily at night on over a hundred different types of fish and cephalopods such as squid and octopus.

Their diet varies depending on the abundance and distribution of prey species in different regions of their range and at different times of the year.

Steller sea lions are expected to depend on predictable prey

that is readily available and sufficiently abundant so that they can feed efficiently throughout their lives

and at different times of the year to meet their energy requirements for growth, survival, and reproduction.

Steller sea lions forage in both the benthic and pelagic zones, near and off the shore. Individuals may use a variety of foraging tactics.

Some mature females, for example, may spend significant periods of time foraging far out on the continental shelf, while others forage much closer to terrestrial habitats.

How do they behave in the wild?

Behaviour of Leopard seal

Leopard seals are diurnal, which means they hunt during the day and sleep at night.

On the ice and at sea, they are solitary, with only temporary mating pairs or pairs of mothers and pups forming groups.

During the mating season and when the pups are born, the density of leopard seals on and around pack ice increases,

since mothers give birth and care for their young in these areas.

Leopard seals, on the other hand, like to stay in the water. They are graceful swimmers who use their flippers to perform powerfully, long continuous strokes.

They can stay underwater for 15 to 30 minutes, sleeping underwater and then coming to the surface for oxygen without waking up.

They do not dive deep and hunt in shallow water. On the ice, leopard seals are normally quiet.

They make trills, grunts, growls, and low-frequency groans when they’re submerged.

Behaviour of Steller sea lion

Typically, Steller sea lions congregate in huge groups on beaches or in rookeries.

They normally travel in groups of two to twelve, but groups of up to a hundred people have been seen. They are solitary or in small groups at sea.

They forage near the beach and in pelagic areas at night.

Although Steller sea lions may travel great distances in a season and dive to depths of about 1300 feet (400 meters), they are not migratory.

They use the area to rest, molt, mate and give birth, and they use it as a haul-out site. They make loud vocalizations that are accompanied by vertical head bobbing in males.

Now it’s time for the fight! So let’s find out together.


Free photo Ocean Seal Harbor Harbor Seal Marine Young Water - Max Pixel

Despite the fact that both animals look similar, this isn’t a fair fight. And let me tell you why! Leopard seals actually do eat other pinnipeds.

As far as we know Sea lions mainly eat fish and cephalopods, not other pinnipeds. This probably makes you think that the seal leopard will be able to win this fight.

But still, we are talking about the Stellers Sea Lion, the largest species of a sea lion, which can weigh almost 3 times more than a leopard seal.

Even Leopard seals are bigger than sea lions from the Antarctic region and prey on them, I don’t think the seal leopard will be able to do that with a sea lion.

However, there is no known case of leopard seals preying on adult healthy Steller sea lions. And that’s because they live in different parts of the world.

In Conclusion

Steller Sea Lion | San Juan Islands, WA - July, 2016 | Mick Thompson |  Flickr

Anyway, in nature, it is not beneficial to fight a risky battle as you might get injured. Much better for the leopard seal to avoid fighting in this case.

Despite the fact that the leopard seal is a formidable predator, a sea lion would easily defeat it in a battle.

Male sea lions are built for fighting, and they’re far more mobile, durable, and powerful than leopard seals.

A leopard seal could have a better chance in an underwater fight, or the sea lion will be a smaller one.

But we don’t know what an underwater pinniped conflict would look like. On land or shallow water for sure, it is a blood bath in favor of the sea lion.

What is your opinion about this fight?



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