difference between seal and sea lion

Seals and sea lions can be easily found in many of America’s national marine sanctuaries. At first glimpse, they might look impartially similar. But They are two different animal families who come under the order “pinniped,.” It means “fin-footed” in Latin. Difference between the seal and sea lion, There are noticeable dissimilarities between sea lions and seals. Some of them are:

  • Seals possess Earhole, but there is No flap; however, sea lions have Ear with a flap.
  • Front Flippers of the seal always cover with Fur, and they have long claws, whereas the Skin of sea lions has short claws.
  • Seals have Hind Flippers, which points outward and away from their body. They are not able to rotate under their body. They scoot on their belly to move from one place to the other. However, sea lions Can rotate flippers under their body, and they use their flippers to move from one place to the other. 

Seals and Sea Lion Identification: Difference between the seal and sea lion

Some of the significant points for the identification of seals and sea lions are as follows: 


It is prevalent to hear the differences as well. Sea lions are boisterous. People can easily hear them barking loudly and often. On the other hand, Seals tend to be quieter with soft grunts.

Mobilization: Difference between the seal and sea lion

Seals are usually smaller in size and more narrow to move faster in the water, but their hind flippers point backward and are powerless to rotate. That’s why they have to scoot around on their bellies whenever they want to move on land. On the contrary, it is common to see sea lions walking around on land by spinning their hind flippers.


Sea lions habitually gather in clusters, called rafts, whenever they are in the water or live in colonies whenever they are on land. Based on species, it is easy to find rafts of sea lions basking in the sun in the form of small groups, large groups numbering in the thousands. But then again, seals spend more time in the water, and it’s hard to find them in groups. However, they usually come onshore together once a year to mate—a group of seals known as a herd.


Both of them can be found in National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine National Monuments. For instance, the Hawaiian monk seal can also found in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. At the same time, California sea lions are living in Monterey Bay. 


Fun Facts about Seals: Difference between a seal and sea lion

  • They usually have a thick layer of fat which is known as blubber, under their skin. It helps to keep them warm even in cold water. 
  • For the detection of prey, a seal uses its whiskers which are known as vibrissae. 
  • The average life of seals is 25-30 years though females typically live longer than males.
  • Seals can easily sleep underwater

Fun Facts about Sea Lions

  • Sea lions live in waters worldwide, but they cannot found in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. 
  • Sea lions are capable of swimming 25 miles an hour by gliding on the surface of the water. 
  • They usually eat herring salmon, anchovies, sardines, and other fish. 
  • Their average lifespan is 20 years, but some live into their 30s as well.


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