The word pinnipedia translates from Latin as "feather or fin foot," referring to their often large fin-like flippers. All pinnipeds must come ashore to breed, give birth, and nurse their young. Seals, sea lions, and walruses are taxonomically related to other carnivores, including bears, dogs, raccoons, and weasels (including otters).
Three families of living pinnipeds are recognized:
- Phocidae (earless seals or true seals)
- Otaridae (eared or fur seals and sea lions)
- Odobenidae (walrus)