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Image Gallery: Weddell Seals Survive Massive Icebergs

Studying Seals

Weddell colony in Antarctica.

(Image credit: Thierry Chambert, Montana State University)

Since 1968, researchers have been studying a breeding population of Weddell seals in the Erebus Bay region of eastern McMurdo Sound, which is located at the southern extent of the Ross Sea -- an embayment of the Antarctic continental shelf. Here, the seals are hanging out in the Ross Sea.

Haul Out

Wedell seal in Antarctica

(Image credit: Thierry Chambert, Montana State University)

Once a female Weddell seal (shown here) hauls out of holes in the Ross Sea's ice (usually sometime between the end of August and early November) they generally stay put, unlike their emperor penguin pals, whose females must traverse the ice to feed. The expectant seals give birth to their pups on the ice.

Seal Pair

Wedell seal in Antarctica

(Image credit: Jay Rotella, Montana State University)

A pair of Weddell seals in the Ross Sea's Erebus Bay region. "When born, Weddell seal pups look like unstuffed pajama cases, all skin and flippers and not much content," according to Cool Antarctica, a website full of fun facts about the southern continent. The mama seals nurse their pups until about 7 weeks of age, when the pups start eating normal food (various fish). When they reach adulthood, the pipsqueaks weigh up to 880 pounds (400 kilograms), spanning up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length.

Chilly Home

A pair of Weddell seals on the ice.

(Image credit: Thierry Chambert, Montana State University)

Weddell seals call ice home, living on its edge all year and diving beneath it to snag fish and other seafood. With such little light beneath snow-covered ice, seals need tood vision, explaining their oversize eyes, according to Cool Antarctica.

Snowy Seals

Wedell seal in Antarctica

(Image credit: Thierry Chambert, Montana State University)

Weddell seals hang out in the Antarctic.