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How are seals different from sea lions? (and cute seal plushies as pets)

cute seal plushie 
Photo by Melanie Kuipers from FreeImages


Seals and sea lions look extremely alike, and to the untrained eye, it can be difficult to differentiate them. The cute animal with flippers that performed at the zoo, balancing a ball on its nose? That’s not a seal; it’s a sea lion. Seals simply do not have muscles on their nose to balance a ball. 

So, how do you differentiate seals and sea lions? Here are a few fun facts to know so that you can impress your friends the next time you go to the beach or the zoo!



Sea lions have a little flap that goes over the hole where their ears are; seals do not. It can be pretty hard to see from afar as the flap is really tiny, but this is the main distinguishing feature for sea lions vs seals. Oh and by the way, the fur seal is actually a type of sea lion. I know right, who named it the fur seal?



Seals have hind flippers like a fish’s tail. They extend directly behind the body, which provides thrust when it is swimming. Unfortunately, being better swimmers mean that they suck on land. The hind flippers cannot rotate and so are unable to help seals walk on land. Sea lions have hind flippers that can rotate and move sideways so that they can walk on land with more ease than seals. Seals also have smaller front flippers than sea lions.



Since seals only have two front flippers to help them move on land, they have to lie on their belly and inch forward – kind of like a caterpillar. Sea lions enjoy better mobility on land as they can use their hind legs to walk and even run. However, having their hind flippers on their sides means that they don’t really provide thrust in water, so they are mainly used as rudders for the sea lions to change direction in water.



If you can choose between having a seal or a sea lion as your neighbour, you would prefer a seal. They tend to be quieter and spend more time in water. Sea lions, on the other hand, are extremely noisy. They are social creatures that tend to have massive gatherings on land, and communicate a lot by bellowing and barking at each other.


Both species are very curious about humans and may come close to investigate, but they are wild animals and can cause significant harm whether intentional or not, so the best way to appreciate their beauty is to watch from afar. However, if you really cannot resist having a pet seal, we have an alternative for you!


Want A Pet Seal?

It is illegal to own a seal as a pet, and potentially dangerous as well. So, the best alternative to a real life pet seal is to get a seal plushie!


Very Soft Lying Seal Plushie

 very soft cute lying seal plushie


This Very Soft Lying Seal Plushie from Cute Plushie Friends is our top choice if you really want a soft and huggable seal. It is extremely squishy so that you feel maximum comfort from hugging it or even using it as a pillow.


3D Lifelike Cute Soft Seal Plushie

3D lifelike cute soft seal plushie 


If you fancy something more lifelike, this 3D Lifelike Cute Soft Seal Plushie from Cute Plushie Friends is perfect for you!


Bag of Snack Pudding Tiny Soft Plushie

cute and tiny snack pudding seal plushies


No space for large plushies, but need some comfort while working at your desk? These cute and tiny snack pudding seal plushies fit right into your palm, so you can squish them like a stress ball while working! They are also good for home décor if you collect them and display them somewhere.


Cute Animal Hat with Moving Ears

 white seal cute animal hat with moving ears


Want to get some warmth during winter? We got you covered! This Cute Animal Hat with Moving Ears (White Seal) from Cute Plushie Friends keeps your head and ears warm, while making you look cute!


See anything you like? Head over to Cute Plushie Friends to browse more cute plushies and accessories!

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