Otariidae – Eared seals
The sea lions! Row through water using their long font flippers
Seals were often confused with walruses and sometimes sea otters, but now we know they’re all in different families of Carnivora and look quite different. It’ll be more understandable now if you confuse the two types of seals. Otrariids are eared seals (commonly called sea lions or fur seals) and are different from true seals, which do not have external ear pinnae.
Sea lions have larger and stronger fore flippers (they can walk on all four limbs). It’s a land adaptation, making them maneuver more comfortably on solid turf than their earless cousins. They’re endangered because of rampant hunting by humans. Nonetheless, they’re amiable and social animals. They are amphibians – eat at sea but mate and give birth on land.
The Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos program aims to protect marine life (like Galapagos fur seals) from the life-threatening impacts of plastic pollution.
Genera in this family
All fur seals enjoy swimming on their backs, making a classic ‘jug-handle’ position
Muscle strength enables males to store more oxygen in the blood and enjoy deeper, longer dives
Unfortunately, they are commonly killed for their habits of damaging fishing nets and stealing fish from fishing and farming operations
Able to spend long periods out in the open sea, some pups will stay up to 22 months before returning to land
They are able to hold their breath for as long as 40 minutes, and the deepest dive ever recorded is 424 m (140 ft)
The only native and restricted pinniped in Australia
One of the largest mammals found in New Zealand and the rarest sea lion species in the world