Seals and Sea Lions
- Don't miss the daily fish toss.
- Watch animals glide past the windows of the underwater cave.
- Spot sea lions, gray seals and harbor seals basking in the sun.
- Listen for excited barks.
Photo courtesy of Orele Fisher.
Seals & Sea Lions
Built for life in water, these marine mammals are pinnipeds, which means "fin-footed." Adaptations, like fins and blubber, make it easier for them to live in oceans.
Can you tell the difference between seals and sea lions? Seals move side-to-side propelling with their hind flippers, whereas sea lions swim with their wing-like front flippers.
At the Zoo, watch California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) swim through the 350,000-gallon pool and surface to take a breath.
Our Actions Matter
Pinnipeds are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Threats include commercial hunting, coastal development and competition with humans for prey species. Sea lions, gray seals and harbor seals are not classified as threatened or endangered.
You can help seals and sea lions:
- Choose sustainable seafood with the help of the Seafood Watch Buyer's Guide.
- Reduce your plastic use. Single-use plastics, like throwaway bottles and wrappers, end up littering the ocean. Recycle and replace plastics with reusable alternatives. For example, take a canvas bag to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags.
Resources and Links
- Learn more about pinnipeds from the National Ocean Service.
- Discover delicious, healthy options at the Aquarium's Rock the Boat Sustainable Seafood Festival.
- 13 ways to reduce your use of plastics from Smithsonian.com.
Seal & Sea Lion Photos
View slideshow on Flickr.