What's the difference: seal or sea lion?

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Which is known for its tiny, flapless, pinhole ears?

The seal looks virtually earless unless you can get up close, while sea lions have more visible ears with a bit of flap to them.

This creature can rotate its rear flipper under its body, allowing it to walk on land.

Seals must scoot on their bellies like caterpillars, while sea lions can "walk" by flipping their back fin under their body.

Who has stubby front feet, complete with claws and fur?

Sea lions are built for the water, with elongated, hairless front limbs. Seals have stubbier, hairy feet.

Who tends to be more vocal?

Sea lions have lots to say, communicating using barks, honks and trumpeting sounds. Seals are much quieter, communicating in soft, muted grunts.

Which of these creatures prefers to live alone?

Seals are solitary animals, often meeting up with other seals only for mating purposes. Sea lions live in large groups — called herds or rafts — of up to 1,500.

Which of these animals relies on its strong rear flipper to propel it through the water.

Seals use their rear flipper for propulsion, leaving them very vulnerable if they are attacked from behind. Sea lions propel themselves by using their front flippers to swim, making it much easier for them to survive a pursuit.

Who is more likely to feast on larger animals like squid and octopus?

Both seals and sea lions feast on fish and birds, but sea lions also look for larger meals, including squid and octopus.

Which of these animals are you most likely to see at marine shows?

Sea lions can walk on land, and are much more mobile than seals, making them better equipped to star in marine shows.

Who is more likely to sport a monochromatic color scheme?

Sea lions come in monochrome shades of gold or brown, while seals tend to have a mottled or patterned appearance.

Which creature sends its young out alone after only a month with mom?

Seals boot little ones out on their own after only a month with mom, while sea lion pups stay with mom for up to a year.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

From ears to hair to their movement, seals and sea lions may be related, but they certainly aren't the same. Can you tell these slimy, adorable cousins apart?

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