In Focus – Seals and Sea Lions

Geographic Region: World Wide 
Meaning of Name: Geographical or descriptive
Habitat:  Oceans and shore lines
Threats:  Sharks, Orcas, People

Left in Wild: Not determined

Fur Seal at Sea World’s Seal Shores – Gold Coast

There are so many species of sea lions and seals that it’s going to be impossible to focus on all that make these creatures so unique in one post. I do love going to zoos and watching their antics so I wanted to focus on them none the less.

Seals and seal lions are part of the pinnipedia family of animals. There are 33 species of pinnipeds, divided up into three groups. Fourteen are classified as sea lions and fur seals. These guys are the ones you see doing tricks at marine parks. They are the only group that can stand up on their front flippers  and also the only ones that have visible ears. The second group include18 species classified as true seals. These guys can’t stand up on their flippers and are also discernible by the fact they only have small holes for ears. And the third group in the pinnipedia family only has one species and that’s the walrus.   

Crowds enjoying the Californian Sea Lions at Central Park – and the animals enjoying the crowd too!

Seal Detectives is a great show at Sea World on the Gold Coast – funny thing is none of the stars are technically seals, they are all sea lions.  In fact most of the shows held in zoos and aquariums around the world only include sea lions.  This is because some species of sea lions are easily trained to balance balls on noses, clap their flippers and kiss the audience. Seals would find these activities next to impossible to achieve. 

Sea World – Gold Coast , Seal Detective Show.

Both seals and sea lions can be territorial and people have been bitten by sea lions whilst swimming or surfing in the ocean or getting too close to seals sun-baking on land.

As mentioned earlier there is a large number off species for both seals and sea lions, definitely too many to mention in this post. However the more common sea lions are named  geographically, for example Californian, Australian, New Zealand and South African are all popular sea lion species. Seals tend to be named for their characteristics, for example elephant, leopard and spotted all are descriptive examples of those species.


Stu’s Zoo Pick for Both Sea Lions and Seals

Most good zoos will have seal lion pools. Both Central Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo have impressive pools with rocky centres where you can see the sea lions sun-baking and playing. 

Like most aquariums and ocean theme parks both Sea World on the Gold Coast and Ocean Park in Hong Kong have both good displays, and shows featuring Sea Lions.

Hong Kong Ocean Park, Sea Lion

Taronga Zoo is the only zoo that I have seen a true seal and that was a leopard seal swimming in its large pool. Viewing platforms from both above and below water allows for great viewing opportunities.  

Stu’s Wild Encounter.

You can spot seals along most coastal areas. For me the West Coast of North America has always been a great viewing opportunity. From Southern California beaches to Vancouver Island, You wont be disappointed.




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