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Ross Seal

Omnatophoca rossii
The Ross Seal is one of the least studied Seal species native to the pack ice of Antarctica. They are less common overall than the Weddell and Leopard Seals, and because they tend to live alone they have a very low population density.

Ross Seals are also smaller in size than many other their cousins. They rarely grow larger than 2m in length, which is as much as 5ft shorter than the Leopard Seals. They do, however, have incredibly large eyes. In fact, their genus name, Omnatophoca roughly translates to "Eye Seal," because they can grow up to 7cm in diameter!

Another interesting anatomical feature of the Ross Seal is its voice. They can create some really interesting siren-type noises, both on land and underwater. Because these noises carry for long distances, scientists believe that the Seals use them to either locate other Seals, or to warm them away from their territory.

Ross Seals are listed as being of Least Concern, but because they are uncommon and not well studied we don't really know much about their population size or its trends. Estimates suggest anywhere from 100,000-250,000 individuals.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Antarctica
Size : Length up to 6.6ft (2m), Weight up to 450lbs (204kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Phocidae -- Genus : Ommatophoca -- Species : O. rossii
Image :  Dave Buller

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