What's a pinniped, anyway?

When you're really close to a topic you might find yourself getting a bit esoteric. Those who are also familiar with the subject matter may instantly get the jargon while others say...

"Huh? What's a pinniped?" 

Simply put, the term pinniped refers to sea lions, seals and walruses. 

"But why are they called pinnipeds?"

Well, now we're getting into etymology. Like many other words, pinniped is derived from Latin and literally means "having feet as fins" (with pinna meaning fin and ped meaning foot). 

3 kinds of pinnipeds

There are three families of pinnipeds. Sea lions belong to the otariid family of pinnipeds, whereas seals are phocids and walruses are odobenids. The term otariid means "eared seal." Sea lions have external ear flaps, unlike the phocids also known as harbor seals occasionally seen near the pier. 
Sea Lions are considered “opportunistic feeders,” eating available prey rather than one species.
The average life span of a California Sea Lion is 20–25 years.