A (SATIRICAL) commentary (of a Wikipedia article) by Jaylene
Note: Since so many people have taken offense to this article, here is a disclaimer: It is not meant to be taken as a scientific article, nor is it supposed to be taken seriously in any way. Leopard seals in probability fulfill their ecological niche as appropriate, and contribute to the ecosystem at large.
The Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), or The Most Frightening Thing to Roam the Ocean [Thankfully, Mostly in the Antarctic] (see Figure 1.), is a creature belonging to the family Phocidae. Given that it is the most frightening thing to roam the ocean, it is not surprising that it is the only species in its genus; all other family members obviously eliminated themselves, rather than be associated with these horrible things. Leopard Seals are, unfortunately, the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after Southern Elephant Seals – let’s hear it for Southern Elephant Seals!), and are near the top of the Antarctic food chain. Orcas are the only natural predators of Leopard Seals (let’s work on that, humans; perhaps Leopard Seal Killer Robots should be built), because they are the only animals large, dark, and foolish to take them on. Akin to a cousin or distant relative that overstays his welcome by staying at your house, eating all your food, not washing dishes, and without paying rent, they stay around excruciatingly long: twenty-six years, hopefully not but possibly more.
Figure 1. The Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), or The Most Frightening Thing to Roam the Ocean [Thankfully, Mostly in the Antarctic]), gives its (foolish) victim the pleasure of seeing the last thing they will ever see (its teeth) before dying a unpleasantly bloody and undoubtedly painful death, or at the very least, a solid thrashing.
Leopard Seals live in the cold waters, much like their souls and hearts, surrounding Antarctica. During the summer months, they hunt among the pack ice surrounding the continent, spending almost all of their time in the water, because if they emerge, they will wither away due to the sunshine and warmth and happiness. In the winter, they bring their brutal and barbaric selves north to the sub-Antarctic islands. Occasionally, individuals may be spotted on the southern coasts of South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and as far north as the Cook Islands. These individuals are most likely on a break from their terrorizing, and after some recouping, they will once again return to cold waters to prey on cute and hapless penguins (see Figure 2.), such as in March of the Penguins (2004). Juveniles are more often found in the north, due to their inadequacy to inspire fear in southern waters, because as it is well known that only losers and the easily frightened live in the north.
Figure 2. Some cute and hapless penguins trying to escape the evil snatches of the heartless Leopard Seal – there is little hope for these poor organisms, but it is better to have hoped for unlikely miracles than to have not hoped at all. Imagine the cutest penguin you can imagine. Now, imagine what that penguin will look like after a Leopard Seal gets it. Yeah, not so cute, huh?
Due to their evil natures, it is no wonder that Leopard Seals are solitary creatures, and only bother coming together when it is time to mate, so as to continue the lines of evil progeny. It is uncertain if, should a male Leopard Seal with an evil factor of x, mate with a female Leopard Seal of evil factor y, their progeny would have an evil factor of xy or x2y2; studies of the highest importance must be conducted. After much tolerance of the other sex and insemination is ensured, the female digs a hole in the ice, to prepare her offspring for the cold, cold ways of the Leopard Seal. After nine months of gestation, much like the gestation period of the slightly less barbaric and terrifying human species, the female gives birth to a single pup during the Antarctic summer, as the pup will not have established its immunity to the evil and cold yet. She will protect the pup until it is able to fend for itself, only because she knows she needs to extend her bloodline, and she knows there are probably better choices of game out there other than her own child. But in all honesty, Leopard Seals probably do eat their own children. (If you don’t believe that, why don’t you find one and ask it for yourself? It would no doubt be an enthralling conversation before you are attacked and ferociously bitten to death – see Figure 3.)
Figure 3. The last thing you will see if you are foolish enough to venture into the general vicinity of a Leopard Seal
To say that Leopard Seals are bold, powerful and curious, would be a sore and gross understatement. A more accurate description would be: overbearing, toothy, conniving, and malevolent to the nth power. In the water, there is no line between “curiosity” and normal behavior. They may “play” with penguins that they do not intend to eat (This “play” entails behavior that is rather explicit and perhaps may be best left to the imagination – unfortunately, there is a graphic picture available: see Figure 4.).
Figure 4. A Leopard Seal “playing” with a penguin; no further description is required or adequate to convey the emotive significance of this image.
Leopard Seals are extremely aggressive, taking on animals and non-animals alike that are much larger than they (see Figure 5.). In 2003, a Leopard Seal dragged Kirsty Brown, an unfortunate snorkeling biologist, underwater to her death in what was identified as the first known human fatality from a leopard seal. However, as an “apex predator” (why do people insist on trying to get to know them better, then?) in their native environment, numerous examples of aggressive behavior (see Figure 6.), stalking, and attacks on humans had been previously documented. Leopard Seals have previously shown a particular predilection for attacking the black (they are specially attuned to things that are the color of their souls), torpedo-shaped pontoons of rigid inflatable boats, necessitating that researchers equip their craft with special protective guards to prevent them from being punctured, because science is more important than money and common sense. Leopard Seals have also been known to snap at peoples’ feet through holes in the ice.
Figure 5. A particularly aggressive Leopard Seal engages in a “get-in-yo-face”-off with an Elephant Seal. Note how its mouth is opened widely, as it gets up in the Elephant Seal’s face like nobody’s business.
Figure 6. Another particularly aggressive Leopard Seal – its mouth is open for no apparent reason at all, what sort of animal displays such behavior? The Leopard Seal, that’s what. Also, why do Leopard Seals always have their mouths open? One might assume that it is so that they will be poised on the verge of attack, maim, and devour at all waking hours (which is most likely all the time, because beings without souls do not need sleep).
Leopard Seals feed on a wide variety of creatures: smaller seals probably eat mostly krill, but also squid, fish, and babies’ souls. Larger Leopard Seals feed on King and Emperor Penguins (see Figure 7.), the firemen of 9/11, dead orca carcasses (gloatingly, as they can also feed on their own predators), and seals such as Crabeater Seals, or horrifyingly, their own kind.
When hunting penguins, the Leopard Seal patrols the waters near the edges of the ice, almost completely submerged, waiting for the birds to enter the ocean. It kills the swimming bird by grabbing the feet, then shaking the penguin vigorously and beating its body against the surface of the water repeatedly until the penguin is dead. Previous reports stating that Leopard Seals skin their prey prior to feeding have been found to be incorrect; of course, that would be far too barbaric for the Leopard Seal. Lacking the teeth (false – they no doubt find the flailing method more fun) necessary to slice their prey into manageable pieces, they flail their prey from side to side in order to tear and rip it into smaller pieces.
Figure 7. This is a prime example of a cruel and heartless leopard seal, grinning demonically after maiming some sort of penguin, not even bothering to be courteous enough to finish its job before posing for the camera. Note the glowing, bared body and heart of the penguin, and how it seems to cry, “Flee! Flee quickly before it gets you too!” and also possibly, “Take me away so I may die in peace, not festering away in the digestive system of this creature, later to be eliminated as simple second rate trash of the ecosystem!”
The estimated population of Leopard Seals currently stands at around 3,000, which is about 3,000 too many.
Unsurprisingly, not much research is being done on these terrors of the sea, and frankly, it should stay that way. However, this does not mean that they are completely off the radar of the media. Leopard Seals have been featured in several movies: aforesaid March of the Penguins (2005), Eight Below (2006) (featuring Paul Walker and some dogs, rated PG for some peril and brief mild language), and probably other documentary type movies about ice. It is a wonder that they are not used in horror films; such movies with the addition of Leopard Seals would be sure to bring in scores of thrill seekers, Star Trek geeks, and octogenarians wishing to end their lives with heart attacks. Due to the general affection for the Leopard Seal’s other less violent, far more adorable and cuddly cousins, the positive connotation for the word “Seal” may not “rake in the cash” at box offices. But much like junior high school girls, at first glance, the Leopard Seal may seem innocent (see Figure 8.) itself – that is, until it opens its mouth.
Figure 8. At first glance, this specimen may seem innocent enough. However, a closer look is required to notice the glazed and predatory gaze, how the eyes look in different directions ( an obvious sign of demon possession), the blubbery remains of a recent meal oozing out the side of the mouth, and the soulless eyes – beware: do not look too deeply into the eyes, you may lose your own soul.
Upon first consideration, one may think that measures should be taken to educate the public against the Leopard Seal. However, this is the very last thing that should be done. Leopard Seals have done enough in the media by being in a couple Disney or Universal B movies. Any more coverage in the public eye, and astonishing events would be sure to ensue. Mass hysteria, constant paranoia, plummeting real estate value in the Antarctic, inflated Leopard Seal egos, Leopard Seal Cults (from the mentally sick and Scientologists); who can imagine the possibilities? Leopard Seals should especially be shielded from taxidermists, for nobody wants to suddenly have to visit the hospital, when all they wanted was to have a peaceful jaunt at their hunter uncle’s house (see Figure 9.).
Figure 9. An example of what may greet an unsuspecting house-warmer, should Leopard Seals be alerted to the general public, especially taxidermists.
No, Leopard Seals should be left alone as much as possible. No movies, no documentaries, no more articles like this very one you are reading this instant, and most definitely do not tell others of this article. Left to their own devices, Leopard Seals will be sure to eliminate themselves on account of their violent and destructive natures. In this way, the human race will not have to muddy their reputation by association, and it will be a more humane way of dealing with them, even if they do not deserve it. Unfortunately, this means that Leopard Seals all over the world (really, mostly in the Antarctic) will pop their unsightly heads out of the water to greet you wherever you go (see Figure 10.). But, that is a price that one must pay for the good of all humanity.
Figure 10. A Leopard Seal that would bring unpleasant chills to Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer, Hitler, Dick Cheney, Rosie O’Donnell, etc. Peter Brueggeman, whoever he is, is a brave and stupid man.