By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
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The hungry leopard seal darted into the water to catch its prey, but unusually emerged to show off its skinned prize.
The kill – which lasted just a few seconds – is difficult to capture as the leopard seal normally attacks, skins and eats the seal in the water.
Vaclav Silha, a 51-year-old photographer from Prague, was watching in a nearby boat as leopard seals and penguins mingled in the sea near Anvers Island in Antarctica.
The island is home to a large colony of chinstrap penguins that fish for food – but leopard seals lurk nearby for an easy meal.
One seal in particular was spotted sunning itself on a piece of floating ice – but the penguins’ activity caught its eye.
Vaclav said: “I saw one of the seals suddenly accelerate and went under our boat. It was clear that he was hunting.
“The whole process of hunting takes about tens of seconds and thanks to both the seal and leopard it is very fast.
“Leopard seals usually kill their prey under the water with no chance to catch the moment of the kill from the boat.”
Fortunately for Vaclav, the seal surfaced from under the water as it skinned the poor penguin.
He took the remarkable images in 2012 but has only now gone public with the unusual pictures.
He said: “I was extremely lucky to see this particular seal, who suddenly appeared with his prey above the water level. The seal appeared for just a split second.”