About Pinnipeds : Species Identifier


northern elephant sealWhen attempting to identify an animal as either a true seal (Phocid) or a fur seal or sea lion (Otariid), it is best to determine the animal's mode of terrestrial locomotion. Remember the general rule: true seals are like slugs; fur seals and sea lions are like bears. True seals are like slugs because they cannot rotate their hind flippers forward to "walk" on land or ice as fur seals or sea lions do. Instead, they move by hunching the body like an oversized slug. Fur seals and sea lions, on the other hand, use both hind and fore flippers to walk on land just like bears and other land mammals.

Test yourself:
Can you identify which of the following animals are Phocids and which are Otariids?

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