Seals, Sealions and Walruses - Pinnipedia
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae (the walrus), Otariidae (eared seals, including sea lions and fur seals), and Phocidae (earless seals). They are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped. Their bodies are well adapted to the aquatic habitat where they spend most of their lives. Their limbs consist of short, wide, flat flippers. The smallest Pinniped, the Baikal seal, weighs about 150 lbs on average when full-grown and is about 4 feet long; the largest, the male southern Elephant Seal, is over 12 feet long and weighs over 8,000 lbs.
Males of some species, including Elephant Seals, South American Sealions, and northern Fur Seals, aggressively defend groups of specific females, referred to as harems. Males of other species, including most Sealions and brown Fur Seals, defend territories on reproductive rookeries while females move freely between them. Occasionally, violent competition for females or territories is an integral part of male breeding strategy among most pinnipeds.
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