The word pinniped means flipper-footed or fin and refers to the marine mammals which have rear and front flippers. This group includes sea lions, seals, and walruses. These animals usually live in the ocean but can come on land for long periods. Many years ago, the ancestors of pinnipeds lived on land. These were certainly weasel or bear-like animals which spent most of their time in the ocean and finally adapted to this marine environment.
While related, all the three are in separate taxonomic families. ‘True’ seals, also known as earless seals. They belong to the Phocidae family, based on the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Sea lions belong to the Otariidae family (eared seals), along with many species of fur seals. Walruses are belong to Odobenidae family.
As their names suggest, one major difference between the two kinds of seals is their ears. Eared seals usually have external ear flaps, while true seals don’t. Another difference is that the rear flippers of ‘true’ seals point backward, and these seals always move on land with an up-and-down undulating movement. Sea Lions and Fur Seals can rotate their hind feet and even use them to walk along with some speed. Moreover, fur seals are named based on their thick fur which can trap air and assist in keeping them warm. The ‘true’ seals have thin fur and use blubber for maximum insulation.
Seals are the group of aquatic mammals which live in different regions of the world. They can survive both in tropic and in polar water. Seals are divided into 2 families: seals with ears such as sea lion, and others that includes ear-less seals like common seal. There are 33 species of seals. They are warm-blooded, air-breathing mammals which live in or near the sea. There are enormous fun facts to learn about these unique animals. They are the fascinating creatures that you may think they do nothing but seek food in the water or lie on the land.
Quick Interesting Facts about Seal:
- Blubber and thick fur provide protection against cold temperatures.
- When they are on the land, they usually live in large colonies with more than 1,000 seals.
- Seal produce milk with 50 percent fats. Their babies gain three to five pounds daily. Thanks to the milk!
- A seal can hold its breath for about two hours which is a particular record in the animal world.
- When they dive, they reduce the heart rate by 50-80 percent. Elephant seal will reduce the number of heart beats from 112 to 20 during diving.
- They can dive up to 1000-13000 ft. deep when they are searching for food.
- They eat squids and fish usually.
- Seals have whisker which assists them to detect the vibration of any prey under water.
- Their worst enemies are white bears. Sharks and orca.
- Seals have more blood than any other animals. Since blood cells keep the oxygen, they can dive longer than other mammals.