Walrus Facts

Walrus Facts
Walrus is a member of the pinniped family, which includes different types of flippered marine mammals. There are two subspecies of walrus: the north Pacific walruses and the north Atlantic walrus. They can be found in the Bering Sea, in northern parts of Siberia, in Svalbard, Northern parts of Atlantic, in the eastern parts of Hudson Bay and Arctic Archipelago of Canada, eastern and western parts of Greenland and in northern Labrador. Walruses were massively hunted in the past for their meat, oil, skin and tusks. Their number is currently stable because indigenous people of Arctic can hunt only number of walruses that is approved by law.
Interesting Walrus Facts:
Adult walruses have between 2000 and 3000 pounds in weight and can reach 12 feet in length.
Walruses have grey to brown skin and 6 inches thick layer of blubber, which ensures thermal insulation. They have broad head and small eyes. Both males and females have tusks.
Tusks represent enlarged canine teeth that can weigh up to 12 pounds each. Males have longer tusks than females. Males with longest tusks in the community are on the top of the hierarchy.
Tusks play several roles: they are used in fights for females and against the predators, for digging of the breathing holes in the ice and for dragging the animals out of the water.
Walruses have whiskers, called "vibrisae", that are used as specialized tactile organs which aid in search for food.
Walruses eat mussels, snails, worms, shrimps, sea cucumbers, tunicates and small fish.
Walruses can spend 30 minutes under the water without returning to the surface to breathe.
Although large in size, walruses have two natural enemies: killer whales and polar bears.
Walruses live in large colonies that consist of tens to thousands of members. They are very social and loud animals.
Walruses are very protective toward each other. If one member is attacked by predator, other animals will rush to help.
Mating season lasts from December to March. Males fight to prove their strength and gain right to mate. Usually one male (winner in the fights) establishes a harem of females and mates with all sexually mature females.
If more males are available for mating, females decide which male is the most suitable for mating (based on the fighting scores). Pregnancy lasts 15 months and ends up with one baby.
Babies are born covered with grey dense coat and with thick layer of blubber. These features are essential for the survival on the freezing Arctic temperature.
Milk diet ensures fast growth of young walruses. They are able to triple their size in just 6 months. After this period, they will start eating solid food. Youngsters stay with their mother until the age of two.
Average lifespan of walruses is 30 years in the wild.

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