WHAT IS A SEA LION? - Remember Animals (2023)


Time and again, you must have heard the name Sealion but do you know what is a sea lion? Most of the times people get confused between sea lions and seals. But don’t worry we’ll help you in differentiating between them.

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Now comes the time to answer your question, what is a sea lion? Sea lions are one of the most amazing and cute-looking marine animals in the world. They belong to the Otariidae family which designate “little ears”. But you can also identify sea lions by their short, coarse hair coat.

They are equipped with four webbed flippers which help in the stability of their pivot-shaped body. The mechanism of their body helps them in functioning excellently in both air and water. Their body comprises thick hair, long whiskers along with a big chest and belly.

Along with seals and walruses, Sea lions are a part of the scientific group of mammals called “Pinnipeds” which means “feather foot” or “wing foot”. They often travel in a group of 12-15. You must also know that a group of sea lions is famously known as a raft.

Where Do Sea Lions Live?

Sea lions are found in specific climatic conditions such as the subarctic and tropics. Sea lions are spotted in a large company on both sea and land. Different species of sea lions are found across the globe and all of them have some differences. Therefore, their habitat depends on certain factors.

Sea lions have different breeds and their habitat depends upon various conditions.

  • California Sea lion

These species are found on the western coast of the North American continent. The region extends from the southern Alaskan region via Mexico and the Gulf of California. The sea lions which generally perform in the circuses are California Sea Lions.

  • Galápagos Sea Lion

    They belong to the larger species of lion. The males can grow up to 1000 lbs. The Galápagos Sea Lion is solely found on the Galapagos Islands and the Isla de la Plata. They are known to be the playful ones and often bark like a dog.

  • Southern American Sea lion

    They are also known as the Patagonian sea lion. This species of sea lion resides in the coastal areas of South America predominantly in Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Argentina. These sea lions appear different because of their muzzle, and dark brown skin colour. They have big bellies with gold and yellow.

  • Australian Sea Lion

    As the name denotes, this sea lion lives along the southern and western coasts of Australia. They mostly live in larger colonies but sometimes break into groups of 10-15.

  • Steller Sea Lion

    It is the largest species with its males weighing as much as 25000 lbs. These magnificent creatures live in central California through the Pacific Rim to the coast of Japan.

  • New Zealand Sea Lion

    It also belongs to the larger species of sea lions. Some of their males reach up to 1000 lbs. They live around the South Island of New Zealand as well as on the Auckland Islands.

What Does a Sea Lion Eat?

Sea lions are carnivorous animals. They usually eat almost 5 to 8 % every day of their total body weight which is approx. 15-35 pounds of food. They feed on different kinds of organisms including fishes (herring, anchovies, salmon, hake, and rockfish), octopuses, clams, and opaleye.

They use their intelligence in swimming and hunting. So, with 34 to 38 teeth, the mouth of a sea lion is capable of grabbing and ripping up its food. However, sea lions eat their food in large portions without chewing.

One of the most interesting facts that one should know about sea lions is that they don’t drink water. They fulfill their moisture needs from their food. Studies show that the male sea lion can drink some amount of water & adapt to fasting during the mating season. The fasting period can last up to a couple of weeks. They adopt fasting as a necessary option to defend their area.

List of Foods a Sea lion Eats

Below is the list of all food items sea lion eats

  • Hake
  • Squid
  • Crab
  • Clams
  • Octopus
  • Opaleye
  • Herring
  • Lamprey
  • Steelhead
  • Salmon
  • Northern Anchovy

How much does a Sea lion Weigh?

The weight of a sea lion depends on the gender and development stage. The females averagely weigh between 200 to 400 pounds (90-180 kg) in weight along with the length between 5 and 6.5 feet (1.5-2.0 m). A baby sea lion when born weighs around 13 pounds (6kg) and is approx. 2.5 feet (75 cm) long.

Males are usually larger and weigh around 600 to 800 pounds (270-360 kg), with 6.5 to 8 feet (2-2.4m) in length. Researchers, on behalf of their data, claim that a sea lion can reach up to 1000 pounds in weight.

How do Sea lions sleep?

Sea lions do not have a particular sleeping pattern. They have numerous sleeping positions mostly they sleep on top of each other. Sea lions can also communicate with other pinnipeds namely harbor seals and the northern fur seals. These species tend to dive to the bottom of the skin-deep area of the sea & only come to the surface for the air. Sea lions can swim upright in the deeper sea with only their nose out of the water.

How long do Sea lions live?

The layers of teeth in the mouth of a sea lion can easily tell its lifespan. On average the sea lion lives up to 20 to 30 years. Many studies show that the male sea lion lives a short life as compared to the female.

WHAT IS A SEA LION? - Remember Animals (1)

What is the difference between Sea lions and Seals?

Both seals and sea lions are from the mammal family of pinnipeds. There are many visible differences between sea lions and seals. The sea lion has an external ear as compared to the seal.

The seal on the other hand has a small opening for the ear they do not have the external ear flap. Seals have thinly webbed flippers with a claw which is useful in hunting whereas the sea lion has full-skin-covered flippers which are very useful in walking on land as well as swimming underwater.

Seals are very quiet and only communicate through low-frequency grunts. The sea lions are loud and noisy as compared to seals. Although both seals and sea lions are capable of living underwater and on land. But the seals are more comfortable living underwater.

The difference of Flippers in Sea lion and Seal

Both these species are similar in chubby body appearance but only seals possess adaptive dynamics for living underwater. The flippers on seals can only move backward & do not rotate which makes them quick swimmers in water but also is a disadvantage to moving on land. Seals live a very antisocial life as they mostly prefer to live underwater.

Behavior differences in Sea lion and Seals

They only come in groups onshore once a year for mating. Seals prefer to live an unaccompanied life without interference. On the other hand, the sea lion is a social species and is popular for moving in big herds. The total capacity of these herds can reach up to 1,500 sea lion members. These herds are visible in the coastal regions in which sea lions stop and lounge in the sand and lie in the shapeless form under the sunlight.

Sea lions have a pelvic girdle through which they can move with more ease on land. The pelvic girdle helps them in rotating flippers located under their body which makes them walk like other animals.

Difference in Walking Patterns between Sea lion and Seal

The walking pattern of the seal is similar to a caterpillar. Seals move their faired body to push forward this requires less time and effort. In water, both seals and sea lions are similar in swimming. Sea lions use their big front flipper to swim with ease in water whereas seals move in a side-by-side pattern which gives the speed and agility to swim underwater.


In this article, we have elaborated and explained the most common questions about what is a sea lion and the difference between sea lions and seals with other useful information. These unique species are very important for the antarctic and tropical regions. It is our responsibility to understand their importance and place in the ecosystem. Love and appreciate them!


How long do seals remember? ›

Seals and sea lions can remember what they have just done, and repeat it on command, if they are asked to do so within 18 seconds. The finding suggests that they have at least some form of consciousness, since they are seemingly aware of their actions.

How good is a sea lions memory? ›

California sea lions may have the best memory of all non-human creatures. A female called Rio that learned a trick involving letters and numbers could still perform it 10 years later – even though she hadn't performed the trick in the intervening …

What is a sea lion explanation? ›

Sea lions are mammals that live mostly in Pacific waters. They are a type of seal. The sea lion got its name because most males have manes, just like the male lions that live on land. Male sea lions also roar to defend the females in their groups.

What are 2 facts about sea lions? ›

Both pairs of flippers enable a sea lion to walk on land. Sea lions produce loud roars help explain why they're named after lions. Males of some sea lion species even grow thick manes around their necks. Most sea lion pups are born in late June.

What animal has a 10 second memory? ›

The goldfish is the happiest animal because it has a ten second memory -Ted Lasso: Don't be a goldfish write it down notebook.

What animal has shortest memory? ›

A comparable study on chimpanzees found that bees had the worst memory, with a recall duration of just 2.5 seconds. Also earning bees a spot on the list of top 10 animals with the worst memory in the world.

Which animal memory is strong? ›

Marine mammals can remember their friends after 20 years apart, study says. New experiments show that bottlenose dolphins can remember whistles of other dolphins they'd lived with after 20 years of separation.

How long is a lion's memory? ›

The results strongly suggest that lions have the cognitive ability to remember the vocalizations of spotted hyenas even after 10 years with no contact of any kind with them.

Are sea lions very smart? ›

Sea lions are a smart marine animal. Findings suggest that they can recognize that other animals know something that they do not. For example, they do not have the ability to point, but they show signs of easily understanding what it means when a human points something out to them.

What are 5 interesting facts about seals? ›

Seals use clicking or trilling noises to communicate. Seals eat fish, birds, and shellfish. Male seals are called bulls; females are called cows; and babies are called pups. Seals have a thick layer of fat called blubber under their skin to keep them warm in icy water.

What are 5 characteristics of a sea lion? ›

Sea lions are characterized by external ear flaps, long fore flippers, and a big chest and belly. They have short, thick fur, covering a thick layer of blubber that helps to keep them warm in the ocean. They have adapted features that help them to thrive on land and at sea.

What is unique about sea lions? ›

Sea lions have often been called the “Angels of the Sea” due to the unique way that they swim. Sea lions will use their hind flippers to steer and swim using their front flippers. True seals usually swim at about 6 mph and can reach speeds as fast as 18 mph.

Which animal never forgets? ›

It's a common saying that elephants never forget. But the more we learn about elephants, the more it appears that their impressive memory is only one aspect of an incredible intelligence that makes them some of the most social, creative, and benevolent creatures on Earth.

What is the smartest animal? ›

CHIMPANZEES. RECKONED to be the most-intelligent animals on the planet, chimps can manipulate the environment and their surroundings to help themselves and their community. They can work out how to use things as tools to get things done faster, and they have outsmarted people many a time.

What is the shortest memory? ›

The shortest type of memory is known as working memory, which can last just seconds. This is what we use to hold information in our head while we engage in other cognitive processes.

How long is a dogs memory? ›

Memory Span

"Dogs forget an event within two minutes," reported National Geographic, citing a 2014 study performed on various animals from rats to bees. Other animals have long-term memories, such as dolphins, but dogs don't seem to have a long-term memory that lasts much beyond those two minutes.

Who has best memory in the world? ›

Leonardo da Vinci is said to have possessed photographic memory. Swami Vivekananda is believed to have eidetic memory as he could memorize a book just by going through it for a single time. The mathematician John von Neumann was able to memorize a column of the phone book at a single glance.

How long is a bees memory? ›

Honeybees can remember reward-associated odors three days after a single learning experience.

How do dogs remember? ›

Dogs, though, do not have an episodic memory. They have something called an associative memory, which means they remember events based on associations, and not actual memories. For example, if you put on your sneakers before taking your dog for a walk, your dog will be excited every time you wear them.

What animal has the best life? ›

Summary of the Top 10 Happiest Animals on Earth
6 more rows
Apr 17, 2023

Which animal has the hardest brain? ›

The most complex brains are found in squids (Theutidae) and octopods (Octopoda) [7]. The nervous system and brain of Octopus is the largest and most complex one among invertebrates [19,20].

How long are lions blind? ›

Lion cubs are born blind and don't begin to open their eyes until around three to four days old. Their eyes are a blue-grey colour at first and begin to change to an orangey-brown by the age of two to three months.

How long is a dolphins memory? ›

That wouldn't happen if you were a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The marine mammals can remember each other's signature contact whistles—calls that function as names—for more than 20 years, the longest social memory ever recorded for a nonhuman animal, according to a new study.

What is a lion's strongest sense? ›

Lions have excellent sense of sight. Like the eyes of other cats, lion's eyes are specially designed for seeing at night. Their sense of smell is well developed. Lions mark their territories by means of scent deposits, necessitating a good sense of smell.

How big is a sea lion's brain? ›

Despite their unremarkable EQ, sea lions actually have large brains, between 300 and 400 cm3 as measured in well over 40 California sea lions (Montie et al.

What is the smartest sea animal alive? ›

Dolphins. Our first intelligent sea creature on our list probably isn't a surprise—dolphins have long been recognized for their complex behavior. Their brains are larger than humans', weighing in at 3.5 pounds (ours are only 2.9 pounds!).

What animal is smarter than a lion? ›

1: Chimpanzee. Chimpanzees can learn sign language to communicate with humans. Topping our list of smartest animals is another great ape, the chimpanzee.

Do seals have short memory? ›

Seals have also been shown to h ave a short-term memory of approximately 18-seconds, demonstrated by a study conducted by the University of Southern Denmark in which capture animals were trained on a specific action, then were trained to respond to the cue “repeat” by repeating the previous action they just performed ...

Do seals remember each other? ›

What can sound like a cacophony on the beach can make some sense in the lab. Elephant seals are the only animals known to recognize and remember each other through the unique rhythm of their call, and Casey played some of their calls for CBS News.

Do seals get attached to humans? ›

Seals have been known to attach humans too that come too close to them. Most of the time this is during breeding season when they have higher levels of hormones and they are more irritable.

How intelligent is a seal? ›

Wild seals are very intelligent, curious and have good coordination, learning tricks easily in captivity. They are highly curious and instinctively protective - there was even a case reported of a seal coming to the rescue of a drowning dog.


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