Sea Lion or Seal, What’s the Difference?
The coast of La Jolla has both sea lions and seals, but how can anyone tell the difference. Of course, they are both adorable with finned feet typical to all pinnipeds. And even though they have many similar features, their differences are easy to pick out.
Look at the flippers
Seals have tiny little furry flippers with claws. Sea lions front flippers are quite long, are more skin than fur and useful for “walking.”
Find the ears
Seals heads are very slick with tiny holes that are tough to locate from a distance. Seal lions ears are little, easy to identify, flaps on the side of their heads.
Listen for barking
Sea lions love to bark, and they do it a lot! Seals make only little grunting sounds that are quite hard to hear.
Notice their location
Sea lions prefer heights. They will climb up the cliffs to higher rock ledges. Seals like the soft sand covered beach or rocks closer to the surface of the ocean.
Watch for personality
Seals are quite shy and spend much more time alone. Sea lions a rambunctious, very social with each other often laying in big piles.
The sea lions and seals come to the shore to rest. They need to be on land, relaxing for at least eight hours a day. Disturbing these animals is against the law. For safety, please keep a safe distance when viewing or taking photos. Sea lions will bite when frightened.