When you think fearsome predator, the word ‘seal’ probably doesn’t come to mind. But while seals can look like this:

They can also look like this:

The photo above is of a leopard seal: a scary mother of a beast, a penguin’s worst nightmare, and one of Antarctica’s most vicious predators.

But in 2006, when National Geographic photographer and biologist Paul Nicklen literally came face-to-face with one of these behemoths, he found a creature more interested in caring for him than doing him harm.

He recounts the tale in one of the most popular Nat Geo videos ever uploaded to YouTube, and one we thought we’d revisit today because… well why the heck not!?

Here are a few of our favorite Leopard seal images taken by 500px photographers. They sure don’t look like caring creatures that just want to feed you a penguin… but who knows.

To see more photos of all manner of wildlife on 500px, check out this link or browse through the Editors’ Choice selections for the Animals category. And if you want to find out more about Nicklen and his adventures for Nat Geo (or maybe drop him a line suggesting he join 500px 😉 ) you can find him at his website, Facebook, and Twitter.