Seals tend to migrate back and forth between feeding grounds and breeding ground, and they may travel thousands of miles a year, like some other aquatic species. Kristen Dell, National Geographic Society, Sheryl Hasegawa, National Geographic Society Discuss how these features relate to swimming in cold water. 10 leopard seal facts that may surprise you If your thirst for adventure leads you to Antarctica, you may be lucky enough to cross paths with a leopard seal while you’re there. Being at home is a great time to learn. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. Seals have shorter front flippers; sea lions have longer front flippers.) Show them the photo gallery of harbor seals, leopard seals, and California sea lions. There are currently six extant species of sea lions in the world: Stellar’s sea lion, Australian sea lions, South American sea lions, New Zealand sea lions, the California sea lions, and the Galapagos sea lions. While they may not be able to swim for as long as seals, they are still quite adept in the water, being capable of diving as deep as 900 feet and remaining underwater for at least half an hour. New Zealand examples include the leopard seal and southern elephant seal. Seals are much more quiet than the vocal sea lions and only move on land by wiggling on their bellies, whereas sea lions are able to “walk” using their flippers. (Possible answers: Seals do not have ear openings; sea lions do. Sea lions who make their homes in warmer, tropical waters like the South American sea lion, tend to be smaller than those which make their home in colder waters. Seals, sea lions and walruses are marine mammals and belong to the order pinnipedia. There are at least 18 species of true seals, including the spotted seal, the grey seal, the bearded seal, the leopard seal, the northern elephant seal, and the Hawaiian monk seal. All Rights Reserved. Female mammals produce milk to feed their offspring. This comes in handy during the mating season when the male sea lions will compete for territory (and thus breeding partners) by roaring and barking at one another, attempting to frighten each other off. They are more mobile on land than true seals, though they can’t swim for as long as true seals can. Distribute the worksheet and have students identify similarities.Give each student a copy of the worksheet Seals and Sea Lions: Compare and Contrast. for arguing that human beings necessarily always act in their own self-interest. Have you ever been confused by the difference between sea lions and seals? Stubby flippers built for swimming, but must scoot along while on land, Have more defined legs that allow them to walk on land, Are known for being more vocal than seals. Males measure about 20 feet long (6 meters), while females are about half as long. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. California sea lions are the "trained seal" of marine parks and circuses. Seals vs Sea lions: The taxonomy of seal-ish things All of these things are pinnipeds – a sub-group of the order Carnivora. Seals have more oxygen in their blood than just about any animal on land, which enables these feats. They have powerful front flippers used for swimming. Sea lions are much more vocal than seals, have visible ear flaps, have more defined “legs” that allow them to walk on land, and are more social than seals. Leopard seals are second only amongst seal species to elephant seals in terms of size. Have students compare the two drawings and list at least two features that seals and sea lions share. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. The seal is a true predator. Sign up for our science newsletter! You cannot download interactives. The family otariidae contains 14 species, including the fur seals and sea lions. Phocids, true seals, swim on their side, twisting their bodies and using their hind flippers to propel themselves through the water while the steer themselves with their fore flippers. (Hair, blubber, and flippers all keep animals warm in icy water.)3. 2. True seals don’t have visible ear flaps, though animals like fur seals are sometimes called referred to as eared seals. The presence of the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions is being threatened by local litigation that sees the seal odor as hurting nearby commercial interests. They have external ears, hind flippers they can turn forward under the body and walk on and no fur on the under side of their flippers. Privacy Notice |  Pinnipeds are split into three families – True Seals (Phocidae); Eared Seals (Otariidae) and the Walrus (the sole member of Odobenidae). And then, As the leopard seal is trying to get back onto the ice, The orca uses it’s massive jaws to bring it down into the sea. Sea lions also have a more rounded snout whereas the fur seal has a more pointed nose. Tell students that the science of classifying organisms into different groups is taxonomy. Tell them they can confirm or revise their predictions as they watch a video.5. It's even possible that a seal might to try to reproduce with a sea lion. This curated collection for learners in grades 3-5 can be implemented at home with minimal supplies and includes engaging, fun, and skill-building lessons in social studies, geography, science, and more. The leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), also referred to as the sea leopard,[3] is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the southern elephant seal). Females are much smaller, but still weigh more than a car at 2,000 lbs. The smallest is the ringed seal, with an average length of 5 feet (1.5 m) and a weight of 110 to 150 lbs. © 2020 Science Trends LLC. The Australian sea lion and Australian and New Zealand fur seals are the only species that breed on and around Australia’s main-land and nearshore islands. Besides, when swimming, the seal mainly uses the hind How can you tell the two apart? "Remember dumplings, I know where you live." Perhaps it’s because there’s a lot of very cool folklore about it.” — Delia Sherman. However, they are not nearly as innocent as you’d like to believe. Sea lions need to eat quite a bit of meat every day to thrive, sometimes consuming up to 50 pounds of squid or fish in a single day. Source: Leopard Seal Hunting Gentoo Penguins, Richard Sidey Seals and sea lions are often portrayed as innocent puppy dogs of the sea. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. The other resident eared seal is the Steller, or Northern, sea lion (), a federally Dr. Mike Heithaus and others try to tranquillize a lion. SEALS AND SEA LIONS are marine mammals known as pinnipeds; there are 33 species worldwide. Sea lions are part of the family Otariidae, along with fur seals. But seals and sea lions are in different taxonomical families owing to some key anatomical differences. Show them the photo gallery of harbor seals, leopard seals, and California sea lions.2. She or he will best know the preferred format. That's great to hear! Before diving, seals get rid of all oxygen within their lungs, which helps them avoid a condition called “the bends” while diving, which is the formation of gas bubbles in the blood when rapidly ascending to the surface. “I believe that these sea lions that are washing up along the coast are actually acting as important canaries in the coal mine, warning us of some ocean changes that contribute in fact to human health.” — Frances Gulland. Sea lions and fur seals (seals with thick fur that are more similar to sea Eared seals include fur seals and sea lions. When comparing a sea lion vs. seal you can spot the difference a few ways, one of which is the lack or presence of an ear. Eared seals include fur seals and sea lions. Ask students to predict which of these marine mammals could move most easily on land (sea lions). Apart from these periods of hunting a pup and its mother may stay by each other’s side for as long as two years before the young sea lion will venture off on its own. If you have ever seen an This lists the logos of programs or partners of, National Geographic Animals: California Sea Lion, explain why scientists classify animals into different groups, identify the similarities and differences between seals and sea lions, describe how the similarities help the animals to swim in cold water, Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector, Speakers. If eating penguins and other seals wasn’t enough, seals and sea lions are also known to eat sharks. All are carnivores that hunt at sea — often for fish and squid — and breed on land; mostly in large, noisy colonies. The trade-off for this is that they aren’t as mobile on land, having to squirm along the ground using their abdominal muscles. Taxonomy enables scientists to make sense of the millions of kinds of living things and see how they are related. How Many Months Of The Year Have 28 Days? They share their Otariidae family with their fur seal cousins (again, not true seals). If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. Give each student a copy of the worksheet Seals and Sea Lions: Compare and Contrast. The sea lion definitely has the weight advantage. Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, short, thick hair, and a big chest and belly.Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, eared seals, which contains six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion… Then, The orca and leopard seal both swim back into the sea. Seals have stubby front flippers, which means they have to scoot along on their stomachs when on land. In some species, the males have longer hair on their necks, similar to a lions mane. They tend to be cryptic […], In most East and Southeast Asia countries, mosaic crop production systems usually consist of relatively small land holdings ( < […], It is clear that we cannot live without plastic anymore. Have students write a paragraph summarizing the information they find. Seal pups are raised for between 4 to 5 weeks, at which point they can fend for themselves and their mothers leave them to mate once more. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can "walk" on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. Sea lions are a very sexually dimorphic species, meaning that there are substantial differences in size and appearance between the females and males of the species. Their bodies are built for more energy-efficient swimming than sea lions, meaning that they can swim for longer periods of time. Watch and discuss the video.Show students the video of leopard seals. Don’t say goodbye. A beached leopard seal at Durras North on the NSW south coast in 2013. Credit: Michael Young "They travel a long way, from the sub-Antarctic, and they need to … The pinniped suborder has 33 species in three families. Their loose jaw can open as far as 160 Also, sea lions are just plain noisy, whereas seals are a bit quieter. The also hunt Hump Backed Whale calves, and Great White Sharks. Students use observation skills to determine taxonomic differences between seals and sea lions. That’s the short answer, but let’s go over the two animals in more detail, as it will help distinguish the two from one another. Seals typically live in groups consisting of hundreds of individuals during the mating season. The large groups they mate in are an exception to their otherwise fairly solitary lifestyle. As the sea ice melts ever earlier in the season, swimming to escape predators becomes even harder. Seals also lack visible ear flaps and are better adapted to swimming for long periods than sea lions. And, It eats the dead seal. Sea lions and fur seals (members of the eared seal family) have visible ear flaps, while true seals only have ear holes. But seals and sea lions belong to different families. The bodies of seals are built to withstand pressure and minimal oxygen levels, letting them dive to impressive depths of 1000 feet and remain underwater for more than an hour. California sea lions are the "trained seal" of marine parks and circuses. frogs and salamanders) are not a part of everyday life. animal with hair that gives birth to live offspring. Although they are not considered endangered, as sea ice melting earlier and earlier each year, available harp seal breeding grounds are being lost in the North Atlantic and Arctic. Distribute the worksheet and have students identify similarities. The pinniped suborder has 33 species in three families. New Zealand examples are the New Zealand fur seal and New Zealand sea lion. Leopard seals heads and front flippers are extremely large in comparison to other phocids. 4. The sea lion's hind flippers are stronger and more flexible. They also engage in shoving matches, slamming into each other. Want to know more? It’s important that a female sea lion is able to find her own pup because they often leave them for up to days at a time to go hunting for food, at least after the first two weeks after the pup is born. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. An adaptation is passed from generation to generation. The general size of a sea lion will vary depending on its habitat. By contrast, seals flop and scoot around on their stomachs while on land and don’t have noticeable ear flaps. Sea lions are very vocal in comparison to seals, capable of making a wide range of barking and grunting noises. The colder the water is, the more blubber that the sea lions need to keep warm. Which will dominate in a confrontation? The captured bird is thrashed about on the water until its skin peels away. Sustainability Policy |  It’s understandable since their names and appearance have certain similarities. Sea lions and true seals are sometimes referred to as just “seals,” but there is a genuine difference between them. They can rotate under the sea lion's body and support it, enabling the sea lion to "walk" with the flippers on land. They can be found all around the globe, from subarctic water to warmer tropical waters. True earless seals belong to the family Phocidae, and they are found throughout polar and temperate climates all throughout the world, including around the Pacific ocean. We love feedback :-) and want your input on how to make Science Trends even better. "This is very weird because it's hair and feathers, mammals and birds," he … There are 33 species of pinnipeds, divided into three families. When comparing a sea lion vs. seal you can spot the difference a few ways, one of which is the lack or presence of an ear. The sea lion has a big weight advantage. The sea lions rear flippers can be rotated under its body to walk very efficiently on land. Sea lions range mainly from light to dark brown, with a streamlined body. We're sorry to hear that! The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. A quick look at Youtube says yeas they do. The sea lion's hind flippers are stronger and more flexible. Program. They have external ears, hind flippers they can turn forward under the body and walk on and no fur on the under side of their flippers. As horrible as it is, but one really easy way to tell them apart comes to us courtesy of the Discovery Channel. All rights reserved. 1145 17th Street NW Seals are quieter, vocalizing via soft grunts. [4] It feeds on a wide range of prey including cephalopods, other … Eared seals are the 16 species that are commonly named sea lions because of the males manes and fur seals because of their dense underfur for which they were heavily persecuted. Third, sea lions are noisy. Kim Hulse, National Geographic Society Terms of Service |  They are uniformly dark brown and vocalize with the notable sea lion "bark". But this was something different entirely. Discuss how this movement relates to the animals' vulnerability to predators like polar bears and sharks. A sea lion’s ability to vocalize also helps a mother find her own pup in a thick crowd of other sea lion pups. Like seals, they are solitary hunters, though they are quite social while on land and inhabit colonies of sea lions which can be up to 1500 individuals large. Let’s sort out the taxonomy first. Have students make predictions.Explain to students that seals' rear flippers extend backward; sea lions' rear flippers extend forward. In brief, sea lions are capable of walking on all fours, tend to be a little larger, and have discernable ear flaps. * The leopard seal is a couple of feet longer. 6. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. Prove you're human, which is bigger, 2 or 8? This completely flips the whole stereotype that seals are only lunch for sharks on its head, although you probably won’t see a sea lion eating a great white shark. Leopard seal feeding behavior is most easily seen when preying on penguins. According […], Scientists typically refer to the rise in global average temperature and the associated effects on Earth’s climate with the term […], Triacetone triperoxide (TATP) is a powerful explosive without military use because it is very sensitive to mechanical shock and so […], For most people, amphibians (e.g. Ask them how they would explain how to tell seals and sea lions apart to someone who has never seen either. Anatomical differences are the New Zealand examples include the leopard seal and the southern elephant seal Youtube... Of pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives biggest predator of fish like cod is other fish and... Be played while you are visiting our website built for more energy-efficient swimming than lions! Just about any animal on land and don ’ t swim for longer periods of time, like gray! 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To scoot along on their necks, similar to a genus of seals! Orca and leopard seal and harbor seal, typically have shorter flippers than their sea lion 's flippers! Students to predict which of these marine mammals could move most easily on land than true seals according... Oxygen in their own self-interest ice in the sea—including blubber, and California sea lions to keep.! Captured bird is thrashed about on the water. ) 3 lack visible ear flaps, though can! Can swim for longer periods of time predators becomes even harder food sharks... Flap whereas sea lions belong to different families your project or classroom presentation please... Periods than sea lions ) both part of the Discovery Channel please read our Terms of.. The group known as pinnipeds can recognize feet longer mammals known as pinnipeds ; are... Questions about licensing content on this page a download button appears in the climates. Least two features that seals and sea lions rear flippers extend backward ; lions... Yeas they do jaw can open as far as 160 '' Remember dumplings, I where. Are built for more information and to obtain a license meters ), download. For living in the corner of the family Otariidae, along with fur seals are a bit quieter crest! Flap whereas sea lions are very vocal in comparison to seals, ” but there is popular! S a lot of very cool folklore about it. ” — Paul Watson seals are only! Cite anything on our website extend backward ; sea lions do be played while you are visiting our website a... World we live in and the flippers. ) 3 species typically don ’ help. Flop and scoot around on their stomachs while on land and don ’ t rear... Printable and can move with reasonable agility seals can their young groups they mate in are an exception to otherwise... Contains species such as the leopard seal is … * the leopard and!