Seals vs. Sea Lions - What's the Difference?March 22, 2018
Seals vs. Sea Lions
Many people confuse seals and sea lions as they share many similarities. They are both members of the order Pinnipedia, which means “feather footed.” Pinnipeds have a substantial system of nerves in their upper lips and use thick whiskers called vibrissae to find food. Their hearing and eyesight are adapted for underwater and their acute sense of smell helps females to identify their pups. Most of a pinniped’s life is spent in water, although they will come ashore (haul out) to rest or lie in the sun.
When in doubt, here’s an easy guide to tell California sea lions apart from harbor seals:
California Sea Lions
- Generally more social, living in larger groups
- Vocal and noisy
- Paddlelike hind flippers can be rotated forward to move across land more easily
- Usually more solitary
- Tends to be more quiet and shy
- Cannot rotate hind flippers under body, so instead they drag themselves across land
- No visible earflaps, just a small pinhole openings behind the eyes for the ears
Now that you know more about the difference between these two marine animals, find out which one you might be:
Are You a SEAL or a SEA LION?
- I'm quiet and shy.
- I like my personal space.
- Not exactly the most graceful on land but awesome in water!
- Earflaps? No thanks--not for me.
GUESS WHAT? IF THIS IS YOU, THEN YOU'RE A HARBOR SEAL!
- I'm loud and proud--hear me ROAR!
- I'm social. Let's party!
- I got smooth moves on land and in water.
- Check out my lovely earflaps.
IF THIS IS YOU, THEN YOU'D MAKE A GREAT CALIFORNIA SEA LION!