Sea lions, on the other hand, are able to "walk" on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies. They have no external ear flaps, just ear holes. A pair of binoculars will enhance the viewing experience. Males can grow to 11 feet in length and weigh almost 2,500 pounds. True seals are termed "earless" because they lack an external ear flap, whereas in "eared" seals or sea lions an external ear flap is visible. Unfortunately seals can’t out-swim their only predators - sharks and orcas. The flipper is raised to help warm or cool the body - called thermoregulation. But seals and sea lions belong to … The name “Point Lobos” is derived from what the Spanish explorers called this area - “Punta de los Lobos Marinos" which means the "point of the sea wolves.” Since sea lions bark while on land and offshore rocks, their barking was probably an aid to navigation for the first explorers, warning them of rocks in the fog. In the not too distant past, elephant seals were highly endangered. Crescent City, CA This characteristic defines their group as “true seals.”  Males tend to be slightly larger than females and can reach up to 250 pounds. The sea lion's hind flippers are stronger and more flexible. Cetaceans (dolphins, porpoise and whales), pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and sea otters call the Pacific Northwest home. The other resident eared seal is the Steller, or Northern, sea lion (Eumetopias jubata), a federally threatened species. They can live up to 20 years (males) and up to 30 years (females). Let’s sort out the taxonomy first. At the rookery the male tries to attract as many females as possible to his harem. If you look closely at an elephant seal you notice black whiskers instead of the harbor seal’s white whiskers. Whether obvious or hidden, physical attributes allow northern elephant seals to excel in the deep marine environment and to coexist with other seals and sea lions in the eastern North Pacific. In seals, the hind flippers extend directly behind the body, and are not capable of rotation unlike the hind flippers of sea lions that are longer and may be rotated toward the front of the body. The "seals" you may see performing at marine parks are often sea lions. Harbor Seals Southern Sea Otters . When comparing a sea lion vs. seal you can spot the difference a few ways, one of which is the lack or presence of an ear. Expectant moms congregate at the same rookeries, usually beaches, where they were born. The first difference between the seals and sea lions that we will discuss is the shape of their bodies and front fore flippers. For almost guaranteed elephant seal viewing, drive a couple hours to one of the nearby mainland rookeries. Fatalities can also be due to malnutrition, domoic acid poisoning (caused by a harmful algal bloom), cancer, entanglement in fishing debris and even gunshot wounds. The average length is 5 - 6 feet. Ano Nuevo State Park is about 2 hours north of Point Lobos. Memorize the color and design of spots, unique to each seal, and you might even be able to find a familiar face! They can have one pup per year after a 9-month gestation. Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) were once abundant and commonly seen at  Point Lobos as recently as the 1950’s. They are graceful, curious and speedy swimmers, propelled by the webbed hind flipper. The length of the intestine may be an adaptation to frequent deep diving, as the increased volume of the digestive tract serves as an extended storage compartment for … This completely flips the whole stereotype that seals are only lunch for sharks on its head, although you probably won’t see a sea lion eating a great white shark. First thing's first: To see the elephant seals at San Simeon, you have to know just where to go. When discussing the difference between the seal vs. sea lion we can find five main differences that have to do with their anatomy and character traits. Elephant seals get their name because the males - called bulls - have a huge trunk-like proboscis. Monk seals, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, are also categorized as true seals. Another seal that many people think of is the leopard seal. Both have ear flaps and both are noisy, although an experienced listener can distinguish between the two “languages.” Searching from Sea Lion Point for a Steller requires binoculars in order to see the distinction between the two species. Seal’S white whiskers have long front flippers and have visible ear flaps and move land! Or cool the body length, propelled by the webbed hind flipper migrate north after the breeding season in California... 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