10 Difference Between Seal and Sea Lion (With Table)

Seal and sea lions are both marine mammals. They differ in physical appearance and adaptation. They are found in many of America’s marine sanctuaries. At first glance, they may appear similar but when closely observed they are different “fin-footed” animals.

The main difference between seals and sea lions is that seals have an ear-hole with no flaps while sea lions have an ear with flaps.

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Comparison Table (Seal vs Sea lion)

Characteristics Seal Sea lion
Ears The ear hole has no flap. The ears have flaps.
Front flippers They have fur covered with long claws. They have skin covered with short claws.
Hind flippers Point outward and away from their body; they cannot rotate under their body, scoots on the belly while on land. They can rotate under their body; they can use flippers to move on the land.
Size They are smaller in body size. They are comparatively large in body size.
Vocalization They are quieter with soft grunts. They are noisy.
Mobilization They move fast in the water and have scoots around their bellies which enable them to move on the land. They walk around on lands by rotating their hind flippers.
Socialization They are less likely to be found in groups. They gather in groups called rafts.
Habitat They are found in marine sanctuaries. Found in marine sanctuaries.
Color They have various colors on their fur. They only have one color.
lifespan They can live up to 14 years. They can live between 15 to 20 years.
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What is a Seal?

The seal is a sea creature. They are semi-aquatic marine mammals. Its body shape is round at the middle and tapered at the ends. It is adapted to swift swimming. There are two types of seals; the earless and the eared seals.

They are carnivores and they mainly eat fish. They are more adapted to water travel than land travel because they cannot rotate their flippers. They use their front flippers to steer while their back flippers are used for power when swimming.

They reach sexual maturity at three years. The males produce some noise to attract females so that they may choose their own mates. The dominant male will choose 3-8 females. They may live up to 14 years.

What is a Sea Lion?

Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ears. They include animals referred to as “fur seal”. They are more adapted for life on land than the seals. They can rotate their back flippers to make it possible for them to move on the land.

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They cannot stay in water for long like the seals as they cannot store enough oxygen to keep them alive when they are deep in water. Mostly, their mating areas are on rocky terrains. They use their front flipper for power when swimming, unlike the seals.

Sea lions only have one color on their fur. When mating the ratio is 10 females per one male. Their life span is between 15 to 20 years.

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Main Differences between Seal and Sea lion

  1. Seals have earholes with no flaps while sea lions have ears with flaps.
  2. Seals are smaller in body size while sea lions are comparatively larger in body size.
  3. Seals cannot rotate their hind flippers to move on the land while sea lions are able to rotate their hind flippers to move on the land.
  4. Seals are quitter with soft grunts while sea lions are noisy.
  5. Seals have various colors on their fur while sea lions lonely have one color on their fur.
  6. Seals are not easily found in groups while sea lions are normally found in groups called rafts.
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Similarities between Seal and Sea lion

  1. They are both called pinnipeds which means “fin-footed”.
  2. Both are endothermic.
  3. They are both semi-aquatic.
  4. Both are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  5. Both are carnivores.

In Conclusion

Both seals and sea lions are pinnipeds which means they are “fin-footed”. They are both semi-aquatic meaning that they some time on the land and some time in the water. They are carnivores.

However, the two are different from each other. Seals do not have ear flaps but have ear holes as compared to sea lions.

The sea lions use their hind flippers to move on the land while the seals have scoots on their belly that enable them to move on the land. The main feature that makes the seal different from the sea lion is the ear.

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