Table of Contents
What is a Seal?
Pinnipeds or seals are carnivorous semi aquatic mammals. These are primarily marine and are fin-footed or webbed feet animals. They have streamlined, rounded bodies from the centre and narrow from the bottom.
They have a thick layer of fat beneath the skin called blubber. They have short limbs and webbed feet, which form flippers. They also have visible ear flaps and solid front flippers.
They can walk on their four flippers when they are on land. The males are more extensive than females, and in some species of animals, the males are four times larger than females.
However, they rely on their blubber fat to keep them warm. The coat of the seals is waterproof and has a top guard hair coat. Both seals and sea lions belong to the family Otariidae, whereas true seals belong to the family Phocidae.
Most species of seals live in arctic and Antarctic waters. They are found along most coasts and cold waters. There are 33 species of seals found.
They show sexual dimorphism meaning two sexes in looking different from each other. They come to shores for mating and moulting processes.
Some common species of seals are common seals, monk seals, elephant seals, hooded seals, etc., commonly found. They are white to grey and brownish black.
What is a Sea Lion?
Sea lions are also marine animals native to all the world’s oceans other than the North Atlantic. They are members of the family Otariidae. Sea lions have well-defined external ears and large eyes.
They also have extended front flippers; their back or hind flippers can move forward under their body, allowing them to walk on the land.
In the water, California sea lions can swim with powerful strokes of their front flippers; the posterior hind flipper is shorter in size and helps them in steering or navigating.
Sea lions are skillful hunters; they feed on various fish like salmon, herrings, rockfish, etc. they are heavy marine mammals.
Their weight is about 100- 300 kgs and is 1.8 metres long. The enormous sea lions reported steller’s sea lions which weigh about 1000 kg and grow to a length of about 3 metres.
They can consume large quantities of food, about 5-8% of their body weight. The sea lions are blonde to tan in color. Sea lions deposit most of their fat as blubber underneath the skin.
They are better adapted to live on land. The most common species of sea lions include California sea lions, Galapagos sea lions, Australian sea lions, South American sea lions, etc.
Difference Between Seal and Sea Lion
The seal and sea lions are the same animals. Technically they are in the same taxonomic suborder as the pinnipeds.
Which consists of seals, sea lions, walruses, etc.
The major difference is the anatomical features of seals and sea lions.
They are different in social behaviours and body shape. Seals are solitary animals except during mating season they come around each other, while the sea lions are social animals they live in large colonies.
Seals are better adapted for aquatic life and they can swiftly swim in cold waters while the sea lions are better adapted for life on land.
Comparison Between Seal and Sea Lion
|Definition||Pinnipeds or seals are carnivorous semi aquatic mammals. These are primarily marine and are fin-footed or webbed feet animals.||Sea lions are also marine animals native to all the world’s oceans other than the North Atlantic. They are members of the family Otariidae. Sea lions have well-defined external ears and large eyes.|
|Front Flippers||Present||Front flippers are larger and help in walking|
|Hind Flippers||It helps them to propel in water.||Hind flippers are present and help them in steering and movement.|
|Social Behaviour||They are solitary animals.||They live in large colonies.|
|Noise||They are mostly silent and calm.||They are very noisy and sometime becomes aggressive.|
- Illiger, J. K. W. (1811). Prodromus Systematis Mammalium et Avium (in Latin). Sumptibus C. Salfeld. pp. 138–39.
- ^ Elias, J. S. (2007). Science Terms Made Easy: A Lexicon of Scientific Words and Their Root Language Origins. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-313-33896-0.