There has been evidence for so long that leopard seals survive by eating relatively small animals. But now researchers say the animal eats sharks. They got such information for the first time in a study.
Researchers and scientists from two neighboring countries, Australia and New Zealand, conducted the study, according to a report in the UK’s Independent newspaper. To do the research, they examined the leopard seal’s hunting habits and feces. In it, they found evidence of seal fighting with sharks in the body. At the same time, the remains of a shark were found in the seal mall.
Christie von der Linda, a researcher at LeopardSilles.org, one of the authors of the study, told the British Guardian: We have also found evidence of leopard seals preying on elephant fish (big-mouthed fish) and ghost sharks (special species of sharks). ‘
Christie added that these marine fish have large spines that help protect them from predators. When it comes to hunting leopard seals, there are definitely many wounds on different parts of the body of the seals. Sometimes they even have large fish thorns stuck in their mouths. A leopard seal had at least 14 wounds on its body.
The leopard seal is thought to be one of the top predators. For food, leopard seals mainly prey on a variety of animals, including crustaceans, small fish, birds, and other seals. Although there has been a lot of research on the eating habits of this animal before, the researchers did not find any evidence of shark eating there.
The eating habits of leopard seals were studied in New Zealand as part of an extensive study. Researchers observed 39 hunting cases and tested 126 samples from 1942 to 2019.
There is always a fight between one top predator in the sea and another top predator. As a result, they try to hurt each other. In this regard, Christie said, ‘The phenomenon of one top predator hunting another top predator for food is quite surprising. If the leopard seal maintains the habit of hunting and eating sharks, the number of sharks may decrease at some point.