Many people think of snow and ice when they think of seals and other pinnipeds. But there are seals and sea lions that live in warm places as well. There are sea lions in California, and seals in Hawaii and the Mediterranean Sea.

What are some of the differences between seals and sea lions? Sea lions propel themselves through the water using their front flippers; true seals use the rear flippers. On land, sea lions can use their flippers like feet, but seals must hunch their bodies and move like inchworms. Still, they can be pretty fast. Crabeater seals are the fastest on land, and can speed across snow as fast as 15 miles per hour. Another way to tell a seal from a sea lion is their ears: sea lions have small external ears, and seals do not.

Many pinnipeds may spend days in the water without going on land. They even sleep in the water! In shallow water, they sometimes sink to the bottom and sleep while holding their breath. They rise to the surface from time to time to get some air, then sink again. In deep water, they often float upright with just the tips of their noses above the water.

There are plenty more fun facts in your new issue of Seals and Sea Lions, which is on its way to Zoobooks subscribers now. Which fact is your favorite?

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