Pinnipeds are marine mammals that include seals, sea lions, and
walruses. They belong to the order Pinnipedia which means "fin-footed"
in Latin. Unlike dolphins and whales, they live both on land and
in the water. Pinnipeds are found in mostly cold water oceans all
over the world. They have an insulation called blubber to keep them
warm. Seals can be distinguished from sea lions in that seals have
no ear flaps, and they can not rotate their hind feet. Walruses
can be identified by two large protruding tusks.
Pinnipeds use their good senses, including their whiskers and large
eyes in order to find food. They have sharp teeth to tear food,
which they swallow whole. Both seals and sea lions are preyed upon
by killer whales and sharks. They both prey upon a variety of animals
including fish, squid, and octopus. Walruses use their tusks to
eat clams, mussels, and snails, but many fish also. The main predators
of walruses are killer whales and polar bears.
Pinnipeds are thought to have descended from a bear-like or otter-like
creature, millions of years ago. The streamlined shape of a pinniped's
body helps it to quickly and easily move through the water. Pinnipeds
have a high content of oxygen in their blood which enables them
to go with out air for long periods of time. Seals and sea lions
are known to dive 1600 feet under water and hold their breathe for
up to 2 hours.
There are quite a few factors that pose threats to the existance
of pinnipeds. People hunts baby seals for their fur, by beating
them with a club. Accidents such as oil spills contaminate the environment
of pinnipeds. Entanglement in fishing nets and other marine debris
is another threat that pinnipeds face. However, there are many organizations
that focus on the conservation of pinniped species.
1. What are some characteristics of mammals? - warm-blooded, mammary
glands, have fur, live birth, etc
2. How are seals differnt from sea lions? - see informaiton above
3. What does Pinnipedia mean? - fin-footed
4. How many species of pinnipeds are there? - 33
5. What do pinnipeds do on land? - mate, rest, give birth, molt
6. How do pinnipeds keep warm? - blubber
7. Name a type of seal. - leopard, monk, elephant, harbour, spotted,
Baikal, harp, fur, etc.
8. What seal recently became extinct? - Caribbean monk seal
9. Why do people hunt seals? - fur and blubber
10. What does a walrus use its tusk for? - eating and protection
1. There was an oil spill in your ocean. Move back 2 spaces.
2. You were eaten by a shark, return to the beginning.
3. A new law was passed against hunting of pinnipeds. Move up 2
4. You got caught in a fishing net. Move back one space.
5. You had a dangerous encounter with a polar bear. Move back one
6. Overfishing has depleted your food source. Move back 2 spaces.