Thursday, August 19, 2010


Odobenus rosmarus are large, Arctic Pinnipeds that can grow in excess of 3,000lb and reach lengths of 10-12 feet, with the males being slightly larger than the females. They are known for their whiskered faces and enormous tusks, which are found on both sexes. These tusks can grow up to 39in, and are actually just long canine teeth.

Image from Wikimedia Commons
Walrus tusks are useful for a number of purposes. Males use them to fight for and protect mates and territory. Males and Females use their tusk to break ice, and maneuver themselves out of water. Their whiskers also serve an important purpose: detecting shellfish meals on the sea floor. Clams and mussels make up a large portion of their diet.

Walruses are very social creatures, and live in large herds year round. During non-breeding times, separate herds form for males and females. These herds also tend to migrate, moving from beaches to ice flows. As far as reproduction goes, females have 15-16 month gestation periods, and calves can weigh over 150lbs at birth!

Because Walruses are so massively large, their only non-human predators are Orcas and Polar Bears. Walruses were hunted for their tusks, hides, and oil for many, many years. Currently only a handful of native groups are allowed to hunt Walruses, and the numbers are carefully monitored.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...