ross seal

Creature Feature – Ross Seal

This week is the letter ‘R’, and today’s featured creature is the Ross Seal. 

Ross seals look different than other seals. They have a smaller, wider head, and a short snout. They also have a small mouth and the shortest hair of any seal. They are a rare and little-known species

Ross Seal

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Carnivora

Family: Phocidae

Genus: Ommatophoca

© OceanTreasures

Ross Seal Fact File

? Size: Individuals can reach up to 3m in length and weigh around 200kg

? Distribution: This species is mostly found on the pack ice around the Antarctic continent

? Diet: They feed primarily on cephalopods but also some fish and plankton

? Behaviour: Ross seals are the least studied of the Antarctic seals due to their dispersed and isolated distribution. They are usually observed as solitary individuals, appearing to prefer larger and more concentrated ice located further in from the ice pack edge. There is not much known about their breeding season, but it probably takes place in November and December

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. However, it is very difficult to determine population size. The Ross seal is the rarest of the four seal species breeding on the Antarctic pack ice