Sea Lion vs. Seal: What’s the Difference?

Sea Lion vs. Seal: What is the difference?
If this question has piqued your curiosity, you likely share the same wonder about the distinctions between Sea Lions and Seals.

Sea Lios and Seals aren’t identical creatures. Despite their shared cuteness and appeal, there are clear distinctions between them.

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The primary variance between Sea Lions and Seals is primarily anatomical and behavioral. Notable differences exist in their ears, flippers, and vocalizations, with Sea Lions being more vocal compared to the quieter Seals.

Join us as we delve into the key disparities between Sea Lions and Seals. Shall we begin?

Sea Lion vs. Seal: Taxonomic Contrast

Sea Lion vs. Seal: What is the difference?

Among marine mammals, Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses fall under the classification of Pinniped. This term pertains to marine mammals equipped with fins or flippers on their appendages, distinguishing them by the presence of both front and rear flippers.

Pinnipeds are recognized by their thick blubber layers, large flippers, and prominent whiskers. The suborder encompasses approximately 33 species, further categorized into three distinct families: earless seals (phocids), eared seals (otariids), and walruses (odobenids).

Earless Seals include a variety of species such as Elephant Seals, Harbor Seal, Leopard Seal, Harp Seal, Spotted Seal, Mediterranean Monk Seal, Ringed Seal, Grey Seal, Baikal Seal, Hooded Seal, Weddell Seal, Crabeater Seal, Pusa, Bearded Seal, Monk Seal, and Neomonachus.

Sea Lion vs. Seal: Anatomical Differences Ears

Eared Seals encompass a range of species including Sea Lions, Fur Seal, Steller Sea Lion, South American Sea Lion, Australian Sea Lion, California Sea Lion, New Zealand Sea Lion, Steller Sea Lion, Galapagos Sea Lion, New Zealand Sea Lion, South American Sea Lion, and Japanese Sea Lion.

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Walruses consist of the Pacific walrus, Atlantic walrus, and Laptev walrus.

While Sea Lions and Seals are part of the same taxonomic suborder, they belong to different taxonomic families, resulting in divergent behaviors, anatomical features, habitats, and mating customs.

Sea Lion vs. Seal: Anatomical Distinctions

Sea Lion vs. Seal: Anatomical Differences Flippers

One of the most notable anatomical differences among Pinnipeds is in their ears and flippers. While one group has visible ear flaps, the other group has ear holes. Sea lions typically weigh between 220 to 2,200 lbs, whereas seals weigh between 99 to 7,100 lbs.

Belonging to the Phocid family, Earless Seals or True Seals can be visually identified by their flippers and lack of ear flaps. They lack ear flaps, which makes them more streamlined in water. They move on land using a motion called galumphing and propel themselves through the sea using their small fore flippers.

In contrast, Eared Seals, which belong to the Otariid family and include Sea Lions and Fur Seals, have external ear flaps and larger frontal flippers that enable them to walk on land and swim in the ocean.

Additionally, Walruses, from the Odobenids family, have unique mouth structures that help them suck up shellfish from the sea bed. Their air sacs on the neck also aid in effortless floating.

In summary, Seals lack visible ear flaps, have smaller flippers, and move differently compared to Sea Lions, which have external ear flaps, larger flippers, and different locomotion techniques.

Sea Lion vs. Seal: Behavioral Differences

When it comes to behavior, Seals are better adapted to water living, while Sea Lions excel at traversing both land and water due to their unique locomotion methods.

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Seal Lions are more vocal than Seals, and Seals are generally more solitary animals, spending most of their time in the water and only coming to shore once a year for mating. Sea Lions, on the other hand, live in larger colonies or rafts.

To Sum it Up!

In conclusion, Sea Lions and Seals are distinct animals with varying appearances, sizes, movement capabilities, and social behaviors, even though they share a taxonomical suborder classification. Next time you encounter these marine mammals, feel free to educate others about the differences between Sea Lions and Seals.


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