Crittercam: Leopard Seal

  • Go with the "floe" as Wild Chronicles and National Geographic’s Crittercam® team search for leopard seals in the Antarctic ice. Sneaky and silent above and below water, these top predators are hard to pin down. Crittercam® allows the researchers to float along the ice floes to discover new insights about these relentless hunters.

    1. What is a leopard seal's favorite food?

      Leopard seals love to eat penguins and crabeater seals.

    2. Why doesn't Tracey, the biologist, use Crittercam on the first leopard seal she finds?

      The first leopard seal Tracey finds is just 4-5 months old. A pup that young is not able to safely carry the Crittercam equipment.

    3. Why doesn't Tracey use Crittercam on the second leopard seal she finds?

      The second leopard seal is molting, or losing its fur. The Crittercam equipment could not be safely attached to its fur.

    4. What does Tracey use to mark the leopard seal so researchers can keep track of it?

      Tracey uses hair bleach to mark the seal. The bleach will color the animal's fur for about a year.

    5. Crittercam helped Tracey study the migration habits of leopard seals. Did she learn that the seals "go with the floe," or stayed close to home?

      Crittercam helped reveal that leopard seals are "homebodies"—they stick pretty close to their home territory.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Antarctic Noun

    region at Earth's extreme south, encompassed by the Antarctic Circle.

    Crittercam Noun

    camera designed to be worn on a wild animal, providing a "critter-eye view" of the animal's environment.

    hunt Verb

    to pursue and kill an animal, usually for food.

    ice Noun

    water in its solid form.

    Encyclopedic Entry: ice
    ice floe Noun

    floating chunk of frozen water less than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide.

    insight Noun


    leopard seal Noun

    carnivorous marine mammal native to the Antarctic.

    top predator Noun

    species at the top of the food chain, with no predators of its own. Also called an alpha predator or apex predator.