Did you know . . . ?
Sea lions and seals: what’s the difference?
While researching the Steller sea lion for my “Beauties and beasts” feature in the Winter 2008 issue—a profile of some of the prettiest and ugliest critters in the sea—it occurred to me that readers might be interested to learn how to tell these two local pinnipeds apart. Here are four clues:
ONE: Steller sea lions, the “king” of sea lions, are larger. Males may weigh up to 800 kilograms; females up to 300 kilograms. Pacific harbour seals generally weigh between 60 and 120 kilograms.
TWO: Steller sea lions have longer flippers, and use them to support their body weight when they walk on land. Seals bounce around on their bellies when they’re out of the water.
THREE: Steller sea lions have outer ear flaps. Seals have no external ear structures, just holes.
FOUR: Steller sea lions roar and bark. Seals generally are quiet.