Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Not to be confused with: Otididae
California Sea Lion
A California Sea Lion
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Family Otariidae

Otariidae, also known as the Eared Seals, is one of three groupings of Pinnipeds. It was described by John Edward Gray in 1825[1]. Numbers of species vary from 14[2] to 16[3]. Any member of this family is called an Otariid.


Otariids have proportionately much larger foreflippers and pectoral muscles than phocids, and have the ability to turn their hind limbs forward and walk on all fours, making them far more maneuverable on land. They are generally considered to be less adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, since they breed primarily on land and haul out more frequently than true seals. Male otariids range in size from the 70-kg (150-lb) Galápagos fur seal, smallest of all pinnipeds, to the over 1000-kg (2200-lb) Steller sea lion. Mature male otariids weigh two to six times more than females, with proportionately larger heads, necks, and chests, making them the most sexually dimorphic of all mammals.


Otariids are carnivorous, feeding on fish, squid and krill. Sea lions tend to feed closer to shore in upwelling zones feeding on larger fish, while the smaller fur seals tend to take longer, offshore foraging trips and can subsist on large numbers of smaller prey items. They are visual feeders and some females are capable of dives up to 400 m (1300 ft).