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Sea Lion 101

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Video | Volunteering

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Hugh

Sea lion stands up on glass - popup
Hugh Ryono

Hugh's Aquarium Views Video Number 88

I’ve been asked by several guests recently about what is the simplest way to tell if you are looking at a sea lion like Harpo and not seal like Kaya. This week’s video is on the three easiest to see characteristics of a sea lion.

The most noticeable characteristic of a sea lion is their long front flippers. Since sea lions are basically front-wheel drive, they use these long wing-like limbs to propel themselves through the water.

The second characteristic to help distinguish between a seal and a sea lion is their external ear flaps. Almost elf-like in appearance, they are a feature that true seals lack.

The third and last characteristic in this very basic Sea Lion 101 Course is their rotatable rear flippers. Sea lions are able to rotate their aft flippers rearwards to act as a rudder while swimming. They can also rotate them forward so that they can more easily maneuver on land.

Check out the video below to see these sea lion characteristics. We’ll go over Seal 101 in a subsequent video.

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