The walrus is a wild marine mammal that thrives in the ocean and on nearby land.
There are three subspecies of walruses that stay within nearby regions of the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Each of these subspecies is isolated from the others creating a unique appearance, genetic structure and behavior.
Long ago, indigenous people hunted this animal for sustenance.
Every part of the slain walrus was used including the bones, tusks, skin, fat and meat.
This animal received the name of walrus meaning whale horse from German sailors.
The males of this species can weigh close to 4,000 pounds at maturity.
The hide of a walrus typically accounts for 20 percent of an animal’s total weight.
The fat layer under the skin keeps walruses warm while providing cushioning.
A walrus is extremely muscular throughout its body enabling it to swim in the water and move on land.
Walruses have long tusks growing from the upper portion of the mouth that can grow to over 3 feet long while weighing up to 12 pounds.
Stiff bristles surround the mouth of a walrus.
These vibrissae are highly sensitive with a supply of blood, nerves and muscles.
When an infant is born, it is a dark brown color while a mature adult’s skin is pale pink.
An air sac is located in the throat of this animal to assist in floating.
A male walrus typically begins breeding at the age of 15 while females breed much earlier.
The breeding activity occurs in the ocean with the male walruses making loud vocal noises to encourage females.
The annual breeding process occurs between January and April so that infants will be born in warmer weather after 16 months of gestation.
Infants are born during the spring migration weighing up to 170 pounds.
An infant walrus is able to swim immediately next to its mother.
The mother will nurse the baby walrus for over a year.
Young walruses stay near their mothers for about 5 years before developing complete independence.
A walrus usually finds its food on the floor of nearby oceans.
This animal can stay under the water for approximately 30 minutes.
A walrus stays closer to shorelines where the ocean floor is at a maximum depth of 300 feet.
The sensitive vibrissae assist in locating food while the flippers and jets of water move away debris.
A favorite food is mollusks consumed by sucking the meat out of its shell.
Walruses also enjoy eating sea cucumbers, corals, worms, crabs and shrimp.
Occasionally, walruses will eat fish, seals or seabirds.
Dominance in male walruses is determined by length of tusks and muscular strength while fighting for the shorelines with the best food sources.
A dominant male is more likely to grow larger while having additional opportunities to breed with females.
Herds of walruses stay in groups of hundreds on beaches near the plentiful food sources with females and young separated from males until breeding season.
Walruses enjoy the colder waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans near shorelines.
The animals live on rocky beaches near the water in large groups.
Geographic locations where walruses are currently viewed by humans are Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland.
In the past, walruses had a wider range of habitat.
Long-distance migration from rocky beaches to icy areas is a normal seasonal process for walruses.
The groups have particular areas to live during the warm summer months on shorelines.
When the temperatures become colder the groups move to a new location that is icy.
In the past, this animal’s population was seriously depleted due to extensive hunting for ivory and hides.
Today, walruses receive protection from over hunting leading to its steady increase in numbers.
However, recent changes in climate causing warmer conditions is reducing the amount of strong ice necessary for this animal’s breeding and living purposes.