link to AFSC home page
Mobile users can use the Site Map to access the principal pages

link to AFSC home page link to NMFS home page link to NOAA home page

Parts of the U.S. Government are closed. This site will not be updated; however NOAA websites and social media channels necessary to protect lives and property will be maintained. See for critical weather information. To learn more, see

What are Pinnipeds?

Pinnipeds are carnivorous aquatic mammals that use flippers for movement on land and in the water.  Seals, sea lions, and walruses all belong to the same taxonomic suborder called Pinnipedia or the "fin-footed." Pinnipeds spend the majority of their lives swimming and eating in water and have adapted their bodies to move easily through their aquatic habitat.  Pinnipeds do not move well on land, however pinnipeds do venture onto land or ice floes to bear their young, sunbathe, and molt.

How many kinds of pinnipeds are there?

There are 33 species of seals, sea lions, fur seals and walrus that populate the world's oceans and lakes.  All pinnipeds breath air and some are capable of very deep and prolonged dives.  The northern elephant seal, for example, is capable of diving to depths over 1,500 feet and can remain under the surface of the water for 2 hours.

Pinnipeds are divided into three main groups:

Go back

This portion of the MML website is intended for a student audience and their educators.
Information within the education website should not be cited in scientific journals or publications.

            | Home | Site Map | Contact Us | FOIA | Privacy | Disclaimer | | Accessibility | Print |           doc logo