Similar But Not the Same, Here Are the Differences Between Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses!

Nakama Aruna

January 19, 2024

Similar But Not the Same, Here Are the Differences Between Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses!

Seals, sea lions, and walruses are all mammals. They belong to the Sub-Order Pinniped, but are grouped into different families, namely Phocidae (seals), Otoriidae (sea lions), and Odobenidae (walruses). “Pinniped” means “fin-footed.” Many people have difficulty distinguishing between these three animals because of their similar body shape. However, they have some differences, both physically and behaviorally. Curious about what the differences are? Let’s take a look at the explanation below!


Seals average 1.2 meters long and weigh 30 kg. However, there are also large ones, namely the southern elephant seal (Southern elephant seal) which has a body length of up to 4 meters and weighs 2,200 kg. Generally, they live in the waters of the northern and southern poles, but the Hawaiian monk seal lives in warm waters.

Their body surface is covered with thick and smooth fur. They do not have ears, but only small holes on the sides of their heads. Seals walk by dragging their bodies, assisted by their hind fins. Because their forelimbs are weaker, their hind limbs are used for swimming.

These marine mammals are calm animals that do not like noisy environments. They usually communicate by sniffing or snorting. They also prefer to spend their time in the water.

Sea Lions

On average, sea lions are 2.4 meters long and weigh 300 kg. The Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) is the largest species of sea lion with a body size of up to 3 meters and weighing 1,000 kg. The habitat of sea lions is in almost all the waters of the world, except the Atlantic Ocean.

They have ears like terrestrial mammals in general. In addition, they also have four fins that are used for walking and swimming. These fins also function to rotate their bodies. The surface of the sea lion’s body tends to be smooth and hairless.

Sea lions are social animals and love to communicate. In a sea lion herd, loud shouts or barks are often heard. Female sea lions also make sounds to be recognized by their offspring.


Walruses can grow up to 3.6 meters long with an average weight of 1,000 kg. Walruses live in cold waters, namely in the Arctic and sub-Arctic Oceans. In the wild, these animals can live for more than 40 years.

The most prominent characteristic of walruses is their pair of tusks. Tusks serve as a defense tool and a determinant of social status. Male and female walruses both have tusks. Walruses walk and swim using their four fins at speeds of up to 35 km/h.

Like sea lions, walruses are social animals that like to flock together. A herd of walruses can contain hundreds to thousands of individuals, especially during the mating season. The male walrus with the largest tusks becomes the leader of the herd. In addition, the strongest male walrus is also the first to choose a female to mate.

Despite their differences, these three animals all play an important role in the marine ecosystem. They help control the population of fish and other small marine animals. Therefore, we must preserve the marine environment so that these animals can continue to live and reproduce. We can protect the ocean by reducing plastic use, not littering in the ocean, and supporting marine conservation activities.

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