The passage rate of food through the alimentary tract of three captive, female leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) was assessed. Seals were housed during winter in holding pools with access to water to reduce factors affecting digestion. Three different marker types were used; large and small beads and TiO2. Animals were checked hourly, and sample collections continued for 270 h after dosing. Individual differences in transit and mean retention times were observed, possibly reflecting inter-digestive emptying times of the stomach and small intestine. Age differences and activity levels may also have been a factor. Leopard seals displayed extended food transit times similar to terrestrial carnivores instead of other pinnipeds. This result suggests an adaptation of digestive system to cope with the opportunistic diet and range of prey types consumed.
Hall-Aspland, S., Rogers, T., Canfield, R., & Tripovich, J. (2011). Food transit times in captive leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx). Polar Biology, 34(1), 95-99. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-010-0862-4