They are two of the cutest animals at SeaWorld Orlando, but sometimes we can’t figure out which is which. We’re talking about Sea Lions and Seals. Seals and Sea Lions are actually very interesting land and water animals. There are 18 different types of seals, ranging from the largest, the southern elephant seal to the smallest, the ringed seal. At SeaWorld Orlando, guests can see the Harbor Seal and California Sea Lion. Depending on the type of seal, they can be found all over the world, including the waters of the Arctic and Antarctic, Northern Pacific and off the coasts of South America, Southwestern Africa and Southern Australia. Both the Seal and Sea Lion are of the order Pinnipedia, which means “feather footed,” so we sometimes get them confused with one another. If you do too, we’ve got a few ways to tell Sea Lions and Seals apart.

Sea Lions
Did you know that Sea Lions are actually a family type of Seal? The California Sea Lion is in the family of Eared Seals along with the fur seals. Here are more ways to distinguish a Seal Lion from a Seal:
Generally more social, living in larger groups
Vocal and noisy
Paddlelike hind flippers can be rotated forward to move across land more easily
Has thick fur that can trap air and help keep them warm

The Harbor Seal that can be found at SeaWorld Orlando is classified as a True Seal, meaning they don’t have ear flaps like the Sea Lion and Fur Seals. Seals on the other hand:
Usually more solitary
Tends to be quieter and shyer
Cannot rotate hind flippers under body, so instead they drag themselves across land
No visible ear flaps, just a small pinhole opening behind the eyes for the ears
Has thin fur and uses blubber for insulation

To get a more up-close look at both sea animals make sure you check out the following tours attractions and shows:
Sea Lions Up-Close Tour
Sea Lion High: The New Class
Pacific Point Preserve