Seal Vs Sea Lion: Differences Between Harbor Seals Explained For Kids!

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 24, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Nov 11, 2021
A single harp seal.

Let's dive deep into the similarities and differences between sea lions and seals.

Seals species have little flippers, wriggle on their stomachs on land, and they lack visible ear flaps. Phocidae species are known to be earless seals.

They both belong to pinnipeds, which means fin-footed, as they have rear and front flippers. California sea lions and fur seals have long flippers with an external ear.

Their external ear is small in size. Most vital, they can rotate their back flippers under their body.

Their hip bone which can rotate, allows these animals to push their flippers down and hold all their weight with the help of its four flippers on their body. When it comes to their overall appearance, sea lions and true seals acquired some notable variations due to concurrent development.

True seals generally belong to the family Phocidae. Seals generally tend to spend most of their time on land, while true seals enjoy more water. The normal weight of a seal is about 8500 lb (3855.53 kg), while a male California sea lion on average weighs about 600-800 lb (272.15-362.87 kg).

There are differences in their hind flippers. Flippers seals generally acquire shorter hind flippers compared to a sea lion with long hind flippers.

Seals' and sea lions' diet usually consists of fishes and squids. The Galapagos sea lion, which is also the smallest sea lion, likes to feast on sardines.

If you find this interesting, you can also visit stellar sea lion facts and elk vs moose.

What is the difference between seals and sea lions?

Seal and sea lions are oceanic animals known as pinnipeds that differ in physical properties and modifications. Seals, sea lions, and walruses are all pinnipeds.

But seals are hairy, and usually have stocky forelegs webbed fins, with a claw on each little tiny finger compared to the elongated, skin-covered front fins that sea lions have. Secondly, sea lions have small outer atria, and actual seals do not have external ears like sea lions at all.

One would have to get quite near to spot the tiny, small holes on a seal's side head. Thirdly, sea lions are loud.

They have the ability to spend their time in the water, both out and in. Seals have greatly adapted to survive in water and not much on land.

Their body may appear plump, seals have a smaller body size, but are more aquadynamic than other sea lions. At the same time, their rear fins tilt back and do not rotate.

This jelps them to swim faster in water and crawl outside water, in the land. Sea lions have the ability to walk fast on land, with the help of their hind flippers, which can rotate forward and beneath their body.

These marine mammals are less social than their sea-lion cousins. They lead solitary lives in the wild, returning ashore along for just once a year to fulfill and mate.

Sea lions meet in gregarious pairs known as herds or floats that may move upwards of 1,500 in total. There is no cross-breeding between seals and sea lions since sea lions cannot mate in the water like seals can.

Are seals or sea lions more aggressive?

It is challenging to identify the aggressiveness of seals vs sea lions. Their behavior also differs greatly depending on their species. Seal and sea lions may become aggressive if they feel vulnerable or angry. Among the seal species, flippers seals can bite and get quite aggressive. Seals and sea lions should never be approached in the wild unless necessary.

Both seals and sea lions are intelligent animals and may shape social affections and connections with a human after several meetings. However, in case you encounter seals and sea lions on the beach, being wild creatures, they may become competitive and protective, but only if you happen to greet or approach them.

In addition, seals inside the harbors of the California Sea have grown used to human beings throwing them food and so aren't apprehensive or competitive closer to them.

Adult New Zealand sea lion.

Are seals related to sea lions?

Technically, they're within the same taxonomic category of pinnipeds (Pinnipedia), which contains seals, sea lions, and walruses. However, seals and sea lions are in numerous taxonomical families because of some anatomical variations.

The most notable anatomical differences are the ears and also flippers. Also, sea lions are noisy, whereas seals are a touch quieter.

Which is the biggest, sea lion or harbor seal?

The difference between marine sea lions takes into consideration eared seals, with small outside ear flaps and long fore flippers.

Sea lions also are usually larger than marine seals with larger bodies that can rise and walk on land. On the other hand, seals have smaller and chubbier bodies, which are more aquadynamic than sea lions.

Therefore, they have smaller fins, making them better swimmers. However, they can not walk on land and may stomach flop around while out of the water. New Zealand also has both fur seals and sea lions.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions forseals Vs sea lions, then why not take a look atdo Aussiedoodles shed, orunderstanding what's inside an anthill and how you can get rid of it?

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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