Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and short, thick hair. Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, or eared seals. There are six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion) in five genera. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean.
They have an average life span of 20–30 years. A male California Sea Lion weighs on an average about 300 kg (660 lbs) and is about 8 feet long, while the female sea lion weighs 100 kg (220 lbs) and is 6 feet long. The largest sea lion is the Steller's sea lion which can weigh 1000 kg (2200 lbs) and grow to a length of 10 feet. Sea lions consume large quantities of food at a time and are known to eat about 5-8% of their body weight (about 15 to 35 pounds) at a single feeding.