Crabeater Seal

The crabeater seal doesn’t actually eat crab at all, but instead krill
Crabeater Seal Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Lobodon carcinophaga
Crabeater Seal Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, White
7 to 70 million
40 years
Top speed
15 mph
Up to 600 pounds
Crabeater Seal Distribition

The crabeater seal has actually taken a really effective life in among one of the most unwelcoming put on the earth.

Located nearly all over around the Antarctic seas, it is thought to be among one of the most plentiful and populated of meat-eating creatures. Nonetheless, the crabeater possibly experiences the greatest instance of misnaming in the whole animal kingdom. They do not eat crab in any way (few of which also reside in the Antarctic); rather, they eat little shellfishes called krill that live fairly near to the surface area. A much better name would certainly be the krill- consuming seal. Regrettably, as a result of their separated atmosphere, there are still some realities regarding them that we do not comprehend.

4 Extraordinary Crabeater Seal Realities!

  • Crabeaters in fact take on baleen whales for accessibility to krill food sources. When the baleen whale’s populace dropped, the crabeater’s populace in fact boosted.
  • Among one of the most intriguing realities is that the seal puppies put on weight at an unbelievable price of around 10 extra pounds each day, possibly as an outcome of the requirement to load on insulation in the chilly Antarctic winter seasons.
  • The crabeater’s head might have one of the most intricate teeth of any type of predator worldwide. The teeth aid them strain krill from the water. They have an uncommonly detailed, nearly ornamental appearance.
  • Researchers have actually located mummified remains of crabeater seals towards the inside of Antarctica, possibly the outcome of one obtaining shed. Their bodies are maintained incredibly well in the chilly, completely dry environment of Antarctica.

Scientific Name

The scientific name of the crabeater seal is Lobodon carcinophaga Lobodon originates from a Greek term significance wattle- toothed, whereas carcinophaga approximately converts to imply crab eater. This species is the only presently living participant of its genus, yet it does share usual origins with the leopard seal, Ross seal, and various other Antarctic seals. The crabeater comes from a family called real seals, which are characterized by the absence of outside ear flaps and a lack of ability to turn their back fins under their body.


The crabeater seal is characterized by a lengthy body and huge head and nose contrasted to various other seal species. The layer is blotched grey- brownish throughout the summertime and after that changes right into white or blonde adhering to the late summertime molt. It generally determines someplace in between 6.6 and 8.2 feet and considers as much as an unbelievable 500 or 600 extra pounds. Females are somewhat bigger, typically than males, yet their body weight changes significantly throughout the year.

They shed virtually half their weight while taking care of the child dog on their nutrient- abundant milk. The thick layers of blubber aid them stay shielded in the icy Antarctic waters.

Killer whales are among the only species huge sufficient to search a crabeater seal.

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The crabeater seal occasionally unites in huge teams for security. Youthful puppies specifically will certainly gather in teams of as much as a thousand people. As they age, the seals might come to be singular or reside in little teams of just 3 or 4. Their actions is mainly related to changes in the cold pack. When cold pack beginning to thaw, they might take a trip fars away to look for sanctuary somewhere else.

While grownups have a tendency not to be also singing, the crabeater has numerous means to connect. Males specifically will certainly create a couple of kinds of mating telephone calls, consisting of both a reduced and a high groan. If it really feels endangered, after that the seal might hiss, grunt, bare its teeth, and surrender. This might aid it to escape prospective risks.

Regardless of just how much time they invest in cold pack, crabeater seals are mainly adjusted for the water. Due to the fact that their back fins are integrated to the hips, these seals can not bring the legs under their body to stroll on them. To go on land, they contour their body backward and forward in a snake- like movement. This allows them to get to rates of as much as 15 miles per hr simply put ruptureds, the fastest of any type of seals worldwide. When it remains in the water, the crabeater makes use of a mix of its back fins to push onward and its front fins to guide. They can get to rates of around 8 miles per hr continually in the water.

Lots of people usually question whether seals can take a breath undersea. The solution is no, they can not. Seals require to take a breath air similar to any type of various other animal. However they do have the amazing capability to stay undersea for as much as 11 mins each time, many thanks to specifically abundant oxygen shops and the capability to seal their nostrils closed.

Many seals forage at midsts of around 100 feet, yet the optimum feasible deepness they can dive is believed to be around 1,400 feet. Ultimately, however, crabeaters are required back to the surface area to take a breath. When the water is iced up over with ice, they will certainly utilize the breathing openings developed by Weddell seals, also going after the smaller sized seals away.


For much of the year, the crabeater seal can be located around the shores and cold pack of Antarctica. Throughout the wintertime, it takes a trip further north with the growth of cold pack. Some seals have actually also looked like away as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the southerly idea of South America, though this is unusual actions. In some cases, a seal will certainly shed its bearing and wind up well off program, towards the inside of Antarctica.

Predators and Risks

Separated in the severe south, the crabeater deals with couple of risks from humans. Predators appear to be one of the most important issue daily. Nonetheless, environment adjustment might show to be an enormous danger in the future. Dissipating cold pack will certainly subject the seal to predators and decrease its all-natural birth premises.

What consumes the crabeater seal?

As a result of its large dimension and ferocity, a grown-up crabeater seal is a powerful adversary. The killer whale is among minority species huge sufficient to search them. Seals are fairly subjected in the water and threat being consumed. If the seal handles to get away from their grip by getting on ice, after that packs of whales might try to topple the ice by developing waves in the water. Adolescent crabeaters likewise encounter substantial predation from leopard seals. It’s approximated that as lots of as 80% of all premature crabeaters are eliminated in this fashion. Numerous grownups still lug marks that bear witness the severity of these assaults.

What does the crabeater seal eat?

The crabeater seal is specialized for taking in Antarctic krill. The teeth have intricate and rugged cusps (the factors at the ends) to strain krill from the water. The seal will certainly swim via a team of krill and gobble whatever it can right into its mouth. Tiny fish and squid likewise compose around 5% of its diet.

Recreation and Life Process

Crabeaters duplicate and after that deliver straight on the pack ice. The reproductive period occurs eventually in between October and December. Adhering to an 11- month pregnancy duration (in which the female might have the capability to momentarily put on hold the advancement of her freshly fed egg), the mom will certainly bring to life a solitary child, which considers regarding 44 extra pounds and is or else powerless. While she’s taking care of the child on her milk, an arbitrary male that’s probably not the papa will certainly join them on the ice and secure them from predators and various other males. His objective appears to be completely self-seeking. He is waiting on the female to come to be sexually responsive once again so he can mate with her. This safety motion just appears to be his means of developing his breeding civil liberties over various other males.

Given that they are birthed so near to the following breeding period, puppies expand at an unbelievable price. They get virtually 10 extra pounds a day up until they’re completely discouraged at around 3 weeks old. There seems little adult participation from this factor onward. Nonetheless, also after acquiring freedom, the seals still have a great deal of expanding to do. They get to sex-related maturation at around 3 or 4 years. Numerous females can effectively duplicate up until around 25 years or two. They are believed to live around 40 years in the wild.


According to the IUCN Red Listing, the crabeater seal is a species of least concern. It is believed to be one of the most usual species of Pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) worldwide, with an approximated populace of someplace in between 7 million and 70 million. Most likely, populace numbers possibly drop within the series of 20 to 40 million. The numbers can be challenging to approximate due to the fact that some components of Antarctica are a difficulty to accessibility throughout components of the year.


  1. Britannica, Available here:
  2. Animal Diversity Web, Available here:
  3. Oceanwide Expeditions (1970) Jump to top

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