Listening In: Do Sea Lions Have Ears?

do sea lions have ears

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Sea lions are marine mammals that around found in many parts of the world. They are part of the ‘pinniped’ family alongside seals and walruses.

These social animals tend to live in large colonies and feed on a varied diet of squid, fish, krill, and other crustaceans.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the sea lions’ anatomy, and answer a question we are regularly asked here at MarinePatch. Do sea lions have ears?

Yes, sea lions do have ears. They are easily identifiable from their seal cousins by their outer ear flaps and ability to move across land easily.

Do Sea Lions Really Have Ears?

Sea lions have small flaps for outer ears that lead into their ear canal, like us, they use their ears to hear and to allow them to find prey whilst in the water.

This is what makes sea lions easy to identify from seals or walruses, as both seals and walruses do not have outer ear flaps.

They use their ears for a variety of reasons, with hearing being an important part of keeping them safe from predators and able to hunt prey.

What Do Sea Lions Use Their Ears For?

Sea lions are incredibly vocal animals, they often live in large colonies sometimes 25 strong, so they need ears to be able to hear and communicate.

They communicate through a series of grunts, barks, and growls, especially when they are hunting as a group.

Sea lions’ ears are perfectly adapted to be able to hear both underwater as well as above, allowing them to hear what is going on in their surroundings easily.

This is great for identifying potential predators as well as prey. Studies have shown that sea lion ears are able to hear up to 70,000Hz, but they tend to vocalize between 10 – 10,000Hz.

This is similar to human hearing, as we are able to hear in a range of between 20 to 20,000Hz.

Do Sea Lions Have Ear Flaps?

Sea lions have ear flaps that are turned with the opening downward so that water does not enter their ears and cause irritation.

Their eat flaps lead directly into the seal lions’ ear canal and help them avoid unwanted water or dirt entering their ears.

Final Thoughts

So, do sea lions have ears? Yes, they do. They have ears that are stronger than ours and are able to hear at frequencies up to 70,000Hz.

They have an outer ear flap that is rotated downward so that water can not enter their ears, and they rely on hearing for a number of reasons including to avoid predators and hunt prey.

Their ear flaps make sea lions easy to distinguish from seals and walruses, as sea lions are the only pinnipeds with ear flaps.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned something new today about sea lions’ ears.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others that may find it valuable.