Monday, March 12, 2012

The Sea Lion Snuggle

California sea lion pups,Zalophus californianus,La Jolla, California. California sea lions sure like to snuggle! While seals normally keep a respectful distance from each other, you will find sea lions piled all over each other as they sun on a rock. In case you're wondering, the three easiest ways to tell a sea lion from a seal (no offense to any purists out there) are:

1) Sea lions have little floppy ears that look like floppy chihuahua ears; Seals have ear holes without the large flaps;
2) Sea lion's flippers angle downward and can be walked upon. This is particularly noticeable when comparing the rear flippers of sea lions to those of seals. A seal's rear flippers go straight back from the body while a sea lions go downwards; and
3) Because of the flipper differences, sea lions can, more or less, walk on their flippers. Seals undulate their body kind of like a big inch worm, using their flippers for traction.

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