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Sea Lions vs. Walrus: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 9, 2024
Sea lions are agile, eared marine mammals with a streamlined body, while walruses are larger, tusk-bearing pinnipeds with a blubbery physique.

Key Differences

Sea lions, known for their external ear flaps and sleek, fur-covered bodies, contrast with walruses, which are distinguished by their long tusks, whiskered faces, and bulkier, blubber-rich bodies.
Sea lions inhabit coastal waters and rocky shores, often seen basking in the sun, whereas walruses prefer colder, Arctic regions, lounging on ice floes.
Sea lions are agile hunters, preying on fish and squid, showcasing their aquatic agility, while walruses mainly feed on bottom-dwelling organisms, using their sensitive whiskers to detect prey in murky waters.
Both sea lions and walruses are social animals; however, sea lions often form dynamic, noisy colonies, in contrast to the more sedentary, quieter gatherings of walruses.
Certain sea lion species face threats from habitat loss and fishing nets, while walruses are particularly vulnerable to climate change, impacting their Arctic ice habitats.

Comparison Chart

Physical Traits

Smaller, with external ear flaps and less body fat.
Larger, with prominent tusks and thicker blubber.


Prefer temperate to tropical waters, often coastal.
Inhabit cold Arctic regions, on ice floes and coastal areas.

Social Structure

Live in large, noisy colonies.
Form smaller, quieter groups.


Eat fish, squid, and octopuses.
Primarily consume mollusks, especially clams.


Known for barking loudly.
Less vocal, produce grunts and bellows.

Sea Lions and Walrus Definitions

Sea Lions

Sea lions are known for their loud, distinctive barking.
The sound of sea lions barking echoed across the marina.


Walruses have thick blubber for insulation in cold waters.
The thick blubber of the walrus protects it from freezing temperatures.

Sea Lions

Sea lions are eared pinnipeds known for their agility in water.
The sea lions performed acrobatic leaps in the ocean.


Walruses are large, tusked marine mammals of Arctic regions.
A walrus used its tusks to haul out onto the ice.

Sea Lions

Sea lions inhabit various coastal regions worldwide.
Sea lions are a common sight along the Pacific coastline.


Walruses primarily feed on bottom-dwelling sea creatures.
A walrus dove to the ocean floor in search of clams.

Sea Lions

Sea lions are social marine mammals, often seen in groups.
A group of sea lions rested on the rocky shore.


Walruses are characterized by their long, sensitive whiskers.
The walrus used its whiskers to detect food in the murky water.

Sea Lions

Sea lions possess a streamlined body, aiding their swimming.
The streamlined body of the sea lion allowed it to glide effortlessly through the water.


Walruses are vulnerable to climate change impacts on sea ice.
Conservationists are concerned about the walrus's habitat loss due to melting sea ice.


A large marine mammal (Odobenus rosmarus) of Arctic regions, related to the seals and having two long tusks, tough wrinkled skin, and four flippers.


Can walruses survive in warm waters?

Walruses are adapted to cold Arctic waters and would struggle in warm environments.

What distinguishes sea lions from other marine mammals?

Sea lions are unique for their external ear flaps and exceptional agility in water.

What is the primary diet of sea lions?

Sea lions mainly eat fish, squid, and occasionally octopuses.

Can sea lions live in freshwater?

Sea lions are marine animals and do not typically inhabit freshwater environments.

How do sea lions communicate?

Sea lions communicate through a variety of vocalizations, including barks and roars.

What threats do walruses face?

Walruses face threats from climate change, habitat loss, and human activities.

How do walruses use their tusks?

Walruses use their tusks for fighting, dominance displays, and hauling themselves onto ice.

Are sea lions endangered?

Some sea lion species are endangered, while others have stable populations.

How long do walruses live?

Walruses can live up to 40 years in the wild.

Are sea lions social animals?

Yes, sea lions are highly social and often found in large groups.

What is the conservation status of walruses?

The conservation status of walruses varies, but they are generally considered vulnerable.

What is the biggest threat to sea lions?

The biggest threats to sea lions include habitat loss, pollution, and entanglement in fishing gear.

What role do walruses play in their ecosystem?

Walruses are key predators in the Arctic ecosystem, impacting prey populations like clams.

How do walruses maintain their body temperature?

Walruses maintain their body temperature with their thick blubber layer and dense fur.

Do walruses have any unique behaviors?

Walruses are known for their social behavior, tusking, and vocalizations.

Can sea lions be trained?

Yes, sea lions are intelligent and can be trained for various tasks and performances.

Are walruses solitary animals?

Walruses are not typically solitary and often form large groups, especially during breeding season.

Do sea lions have natural predators?

Yes, sea lions are preyed upon by sharks, killer whales, and sometimes large predatory fish.

How do sea lions hunt for food?

Sea lions hunt by using their speed and agility in water to catch prey.

What impact does the melting of Arctic ice have on walruses?

Melting Arctic ice reduces the habitat and hunting grounds of walruses, impacting their survival.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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