8 Difference Between Otter and Seal (With Table)

What is the difference between Otter and Seal?

Otter and seals belong to different families. Otter belongs to the Mustelidae family while the seal belongs to the Phocidae family.

Otters and seals share many things such as they are both mammals and have the same physical appearance although they are different from each other.

The main difference between otter and seal is that Otters are comparatively smaller in body size while seals are comparatively larger in body size.

Difference Between Otter and Seal

Comparison Table (Otter vs Seal)

Characteristics Otter Seal
Classification They belong to the family Mustelidae. They belong to the family Phocidae.
Size They are comparatively smaller in body size. They are comparatively larger in body size.
How they keep themselves warm They have dense fur that enables them to keep warm. They have blubber that is deposited below the skin.
Habitat They inhabit water most of the time. They are mostly found on land.
What they feed on They mostly feed on invertebrates. They mostly feed on fish.
Physical appearance They have paws and external ears. They have flippers and do not have visible ears.
Gestation period The period lasts between 6o to 85 days. The period lasts for 12 months.
Lifespan They live up to 16 years. They live between 15 to 40 years.
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What is Otter?

Otters are mammals in the Mustelidae family. They live in or near oceans. They are found in Eastern North and Northern Pacific Ocean.

There are 13 species of otters. The species are either aquatic or semi-aquatic depending on the species. They include; weasels, badgers, wolverines, and polecats.

A fully grown otter weighs between 14 to 45 kg and this makes them the heaviest member among the smallest marine animals.

They have a very thick layer of fur on their bodies that enables them to keep themselves warm during the cold season.

They have the ability to walk but they prefer living in the oceans more than staying on the land. They have short limbs with webbed feet.

They feed on fish and shellfish. They also feed on invertebrates and small animals found in the sea. They eat 15% of their body weight a day.

Their gestation period is between 60 to 86 days. The newborn is taken care of by the males, females, and other offspring. It lives with its family for about a year.

What is Seal?

Seals are marine mammals in the Phocidae family. They are commonly known as pinnipeds. They are found all over the world and live in all waters both the arctic and subarctic.

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There are about 33 species in this family. They are also known as fin-footed mammals. They include; walrus, eared seals, sea lions, fur seals, and earless seals.

They weigh between 45kg to 3,200kg. They display sexual dimorphism. Males are larger compared to their female counterparts.

They are agile and flexible due to their four limbs and streamlined bodies. The limbs are modified into flippers.

They have a fat layer called blubber under their skin that makes them keep themselves warm during the cold season. They move to land to escape some predators like sharks.

They give birth on the land. Their gestation period lasts between 9 to 12 months. The pups learn their mother’s voice to avoid confusion of the mother feeding another seal’s pups.

They are basically carnivores. They entirely depend on meat for survival. They feed on fish, shellfish, penguins, and other marine creatures.

Main Differences between Otter and Seal

  1. Otters are comparatively smaller while seals are larger in body size.
  2. Otters belong to the Mustelidae family while seals belong to the Phocidae family.
  3. Otters have dense fur that keeps them warm while seals have blubber that is deposited under the skin that keeps them warm.
  4. Otters have paws and external ears while seals have flippers but do not have visible ears.
  5. Otters mainly feed on invertebrates while seals mainly feed on fish.
  6. The gestation period for otters lasts between 60 to 86 days while the gestation period for seals lasts between 9 months to 12 months.
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Similarities between Otter and Seal

  1. They are both mammals.
  2. They are both marine creatures.
  3. Both are adapted to keeping themselves warm in the water.
  4. Both are good swimmers.

In Conclusion

Otters and seals have many things in common. This makes people think that it is the same animal. Both are marine mammals and have lungs that they use to breathe.

However, there some traits and features that make them different from each other. Both are good swimmers but when we compare the two, the seals win because of their streamlined bodies and flippers that enable them to move in water fast.

The main feature that makes otters appear different from seals is the body size. Otters are smaller while seals are comparatively large when it comes to body size.

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