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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Crabeater Seal Lobodon carcinophagus

Despite its name, the crabeater seal feeds only on krill and other planktonic animals. It filters water using its strange molar teeth, which have elongated cusps that look like a set of stubby fingers. When the crabeater seal's jaws close, the cusps act like a sieve, letting water out but keeping food in. Crabeater seals have slender bodies, with fur that may be light or dark brown and darker flippers. They live close to pack ice and breed on it, and they are extremely nimble on land. Crabeater seals' mummified remains have been found over 30 miles (50 km) inland in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys. Their total population is thought to be 10–20 million, making them more numerous than all other seal species combined.

Crabeater Sealzoom image
  • Order Carnivora
  • Length 6–8 ft (2–2.4 m)
  • Weight 440–660 lb (200–300 kg)
  • Habitat Polar waters around sea ice
  • Distribution Southern Ocean and adjoining regions north of the Antarctic Convergence
Crabeater Seal Habitat Mapzoom image