Seals of the world

Seals (Pinipedia) are marine mammals. Worldwide, there are 34 species of seal that are divided into three families by their characteristics.

Some seals, like the leopard seal, live in the ice-cold Arctic or Antarctic seas. Others, like the harbour seal, occur in all North Temperate oceans. The Hawaiian monk seal belongs to the few tropical seal species and the Saimaa ringed seal lives exclusively in one freshwater lake in Finland.

Discover the world of the seals in our exhibition “Seals of the world”.

True seals

(Phocidae)
18 species

Baikal seal - Ribbon seal - Bearded seal - Hawaiian monk seal - Caspian seal – Grey seal - Hooded seal – Crabeater seal - Spotted seal - Mediterranean monk seal - Northern elephant seal - Ringed seal - Ross seal - Harp seal – Harbour seal – Leopard seal- Southern elephant seal - Weddell seal

Eared seals

(Otariidae)
15 species

Antarctic fur seal - Australian sea lion - Galápagos fur seal - Galápagos sea lion - Guadalupe fur seal - Juan Fernandez fur seal - California sea lion - South American sea lion - New Zealand fur seals - New Zealand sea lion - Northern fur seal - Steller sea lion -Subantarctic fur seal - South African Fur Seal - South American Fur Seal

Walruses

(Odobenidae)
1 species

Walrus

True seals

Hind flippers used to generate propulsion in water

On land, they move with the help of their abdominal and back muscles

Short front flippers

Only ear holes

Mostly solitary life

Eared seals

On land, they move in a waddling manner with all four flippers

Front flippers generate propulsion in water

Long front flippers

Clearly recognizable ear conches

Lead a social life and aggregate in groups

Walruses

Hind flippers generate propulsion in water

On land, they move with all four flippers

Very little fur, skin is thick, rough and wrinkled

Short front flippers

Only ear holes

Males and females have tusks that grow throughout their whole lives

Mostly live in herds