Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes wedelli) pup with mother

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Antarctic seals

Weddell seals usually have their pups on sea-ice, getting in and out of the sea through a breathing hole. These breathing holes are guarded and kept open by the males during the time when the females give birth.The male guarding the hole will defend a territory beneath the ice against other males for access to mates. The females are ready to breed again shortly after the birth of the pup so the males that successfully defend a breathing hole will mate with the mother seals that use this hole, typically this will be a ratio of about 10 to one.

Photo; © Paul Ward