Difference Between Walrus and Sea Lion

Walrus vs Sea Lion

Walrus and sea lion belong to the same Superfamily: Pinnipedia under the Order: Carnivora. These are two distinctive animals with some characteristics features from both animals to make each one unique in the animal kingdom. This article reviews the important characteristics of both walrus and sea lions in a brief manner and then performs a comparison between walrus and sea lion.


Walrus, Odobenusrosmarus, is one of the most distinctive animals living in the marine ecosystem with a pair of characteristic tusks. They live in the arctic waters of the North Pole. Walrus belong to the Family: Odobenidae of the Order: Carnivora, and it is the only species of this family, but there are three subspecies of walruses. These three subspecies are known as Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus), Pacific walrus (O. r. divergens), and Laptevi walrus (O. r.laptevi). All those walruses are distinguishable from the presence of the tusks, which is their most distinctive feature. In addition, their whiskers are prominent, and the great bulky body are important to consider. A walrus usually weighs over 1,700 kilograms, and which is seconds only to the elephant seals among pinnipedian species. However, sometimes there are males weighing up to 2,000 kilograms as well as females of 800 kilograms. That suggests the female walruses are usually smaller and lighter than males. They are excellent swimmers with forelimbs modified into flippers and the presence of a fatty fin-like tail. However, despite being marine mammals, much of their time is spent on the ice. They mainly feed on the benthic molluscs, shrimp, crab, tubeworms, corals, sea cucumbers, and many other pinnipedian body parts. They are grazing marine mammals, which serves the marine ecosystem to be highly nutritious via enabling the nutrients to be released into the water after disturbing the seafloor by walruses.

Sea Lion

Sea lions belong to the Family: Otaridae, which accounts for both fur seals (nine species) and others (seven species). Sea lions have external ear flaps, which are important to notice. Additionally, their ability to walk on the ground by all four feet with the use of long forelimbs is another distinguishing feature among many pinnipedian species, and which has caused them to spend more time on land than in sea. However, while they are swimming in water, they move their long forelimbs like birds flap their wings during flight. Sea lions have a short and thick coat of hair, which is characteristic for them. Sea lions are very vocal, sometimes even considered as noisy. Sea lions have long and smooth whiskers or vibrissae. Around five years of age, there will be a bump on top of the head of males called the sagittal crest. Sea lions are usually 2 –3 metreslong and have their bodyweights ranging from 200 to1000 kilograms. The lifespan of these interesting marine mammals ranges from 20 to 30 years.


What is the difference between Walrus and Sea Lion?

• Walrus belongs to the Family: Odobentidae while sea lions belong to the Family: Otaridae.

• There are seven species of sea lions while there is only one species of walrus.

• Walrus weighs much more than sea lions.

• Sea lions have external earflaps but not the walruses.

• Sea lions have four flipper-like feet whereas there only two such feet in walrus.

• Sea lions can walk on the ground using four feet, but walruses push their rear side forwards and moves the front into the intended direction of movement while walking.

• Whiskers are more prominent in walrus, but those are not that prominent in sea lions.