Difference Between Seal and Sea Lion (With Table)

In all water bodies, there are millions of species found. Various aquatic animals and plants are found under oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Out of millions of species, the two most interesting species are seals and sea lions, both of them are marine members.

Also they are known as ‘pinnipeds’ since they differ in adaptations and characteristics. Both of them look alike but there is a huge difference between them.

Seal vs Sea Lion

The main difference between Seal and Sea Lion is that Seals along walrus are known as pinnipeds which mean “fin-footed” in Language Latin. Seals do have front feet stubby and thinly flippers webbed. Also, they have claws with small toes. Whereas sea lions do have outer ears with small flaps.

In seals, there are small holes near sleek heads. Sea lions are quite noisy as compared to seals which are quiet and vocal.


Comparison Table Between Seal and Sea Lion (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of Comparison


Sea Lions


Seals are earless

Sea lions do have big outer ears with flap


Seals move like caterpillar

Sea lions use hind legs for walking.


Weasel like Ancestor

Terrestrial bear like Ancestors


Hind flippers are behind the body directly

Hind flippers are longer behind the body


Seals do have soft sounds

Sea lions make barks.


What is Seal?

Seals are the mammals
that breathe in air and are known to be warm-blooded. Seals can be found near
the sea or in the sea. It is one of the species out of many such as common
seals, fur seals and sea lions.

Since seals can survive
in or out of the sea, it is also known as a semi-aquatic mammal. It belongs to
a category known to be Pinnipedia since it has four flippers.

The category which it
belongs to contains other three groups which are eared seals(sea lions and fur
seals), true or earless seals( common seals) and walrus.\\

 There is a theory that says that seals have evolved from land-based ancestors such as bears or otters. Seals have 33 kinds of species. Seals are found in locations such as tropic places, antarctic and Arctic.

Seals have a special fat
layer that is known as blubber. It keeps seals warm when they are in cold
water. And the slick fur coat that covers it helps them to glide through the

What is Sea Lion?

Sea Lions are another
aquatic mammal that belongs to the category Pinnipedia. Sea Lion and another
mammal called fur seals belong to the Otariidae family, which is known as eared

Sea lions have seven
species in total and those species are known as Japanese Sea Lion, South
America Sealion, New Zealand Sea Lion, Galapagos Sea Lion, Australian Sea Lion,
Steller Sea Lion, California Sea Lion.

Sea lions are aquatic
mammals that have a torpedo-shaped long body which lets them adapt to gliding
in water.Sea lions can easily move out of water. Sea Lions have good eyesight and
nearsighted.Sea Lions can see much better in water than on land.

Sea Lions stay in big
colonies and they all remain close together in both land and water. Within
large colonies, they have sub colonies.

Sea lions are swimmers
and they can cover speeds of 25 miles for every hour. Also, they are capable of
swimming 10 miles each hour and they can increase their speed when they are



Like all other aquatic animals, seals and sea lions are some of the famous marine animals. Seals are kind of sea lions and another aquatic mammal known as walrus. Although they belong to the same family, there are still some differences.

Well, for an individual it is easy to point out walrus and seal, but distinguishing between seal and sea lions is quite confusing. Sea lions are also known as fur seals and seals with ears are known as true seals.

Seals and sea lions do
have common characteristics, hence they are somewhat the same, but some
characteristics are unique and you can distinguish between them easily. But one
thing is interesting that they belong to the same family, despite differences.



  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-antiquity/article/prehistoric-seal-and-sealion-butchering-on-the-southern-northwest-coast/5382BB5CC3C9B05A13DD1DDF7610F65B
  2. https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1986.tb03581.x