Walrus 411

Walrus 411

Walrus Scoop

Walrus Questions


My Favorite Links

Contact Me

Guest Book

Family & Types Of Walruses
Walruses are part of the pinniped family, which also includes seals and sea lions. Their “scientific” family name, Odobenidae, is Latin for “those that walk with teeth”. Their Latin names refer to they way that these “beasts” use their ivory tusks to drag out onto ice floes. Its family is the Odobenidae and its genus species is Odobenus rosmarus. Walruses are large mammals that are found in the Arctic regions at the edge of the polar ice along the northeastern coasts of Canada and Siberia, Kamchatka, the northwestern coast of Alaska, Greenland, northern Norway, and Ellesmere Island.

The 33 living species of pinnipeds are divided into 3 families. There are the Phocidae that means “true seals”, the Otariidae which means “eared seals” and which includes the fur seals and sea lions, and last, the Odobenidae which means “the walrus”. It is believed that walruses descended from either bear-like or otter-like creatures that entered the seas millions of years ago.

The Otariidae differs from the Phocidae in many ways. However, the most noticeable ways are that the Otariidae seals have outer ear flaps and they usually walk on both their hind and fore flippers. Another way that they differ is that Otariidae seals drive themselves through the water by their fore flippers with a sculling motion. On the other hand, Phocidae seals do not have visible ear flaps and they do not drag themselves along the land by their fore flippers or bodies or even use their hind flippers to drag themselves through the water. Their fore flippers are used for steering. All walruses possess a very curious mixture of both Phocidae and Otariidae characteristics.

Two populations of the existing walruses are the Atlantic and Pacific walrus. The Atlantic and the Pacific walrus each inhabit two distinct areas. The Atlantic walrus lives in East Greenland, Spitsbergen, Franz Josephland, Barents Sea and Kara Sea. The Pacific Walrus inhabits in the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea.

Pinnipeds have an extremely large amount of blood than do other mammals and the walrus’s large amount of blood allows them to store large amounts of oxygen in their blood on very deep and prolonged dives. Their dives are about up to 1,600 meters and 2 hours having been recorded.

Both female and male walruses’ have large bodies with thick and wrinkled hairy skin that becomes almost hairless with age. Both male and female walruses’ have very small heads and they also do not have any ears; only a fold of their skin marks the location of the ear. Walruses are from 2.7 to 3.56 meters in length and they both female and male weigh from 1,800 pounds to 3,700 pounds and their upper canine teeth form big tusks. The maximum tusk length for the male walrus AKA bull is three feet and the maximum tusk length for the female walrus AKA cow, is two feet.

The walruses have about 700 pieces of hair on its snout. A walrus doesn’t only use its nose or snout to for sniffing out food but the walruses also use their noses for kissing their friends. Walruses love to sunbathe and when they swim in the cold waters, they sometimes dive as deep as 300 feet. They also use their tusks for three reasons. They are to get some girlies, to get a grip when the male walrus is climbing out of the water to the ice and to secure themselves on the floor of the ocean while they dig for some clams.

Female walruses give birth to a calf every 2 to 3 years. The young are born out on the ice in April or May. A calf may nurse for up to 2 years. When a calf isn't sleeping or nursing, the mother allows the calf to crawl over her or she may play with the calf by holding the calf between her front flippers and lifting it into the air.

The adult walruses may take a swim to feed but the calves are never left completely alone. While the male and female walruses watch for enemies such as polar bears, the females are responsible for the protection of their offspring. If a walrus group, also known as Å“lek is disturbed and leave the ice, the adult walruses stay close to their offspring to protect them. The walruses communicate with each other in many ways. They communicate with each other with bells, knocks, clacks and whistles and they also love to hang out in big piles of walruses on the beach with more than one hundred. Walruses spend most of their lives at the sea, although they often come out of the water onto ice floes to rest. Walruses also leave the water to give birth to their calf and to shed their hair. Walruses migrate north in the spring and south in the winter.

Large groups of walruses gather during the breeding season, which is from January to March. The bulls (male walrus’s) fight for cows (female walrus’s), and the largest bulls with the longest tusks usually win. Each winner will mate with several females. Birth occurs about 15 months after mating, often from April to June, as the herds are heading back north after the winter season. The cows drag out onto an ice floe to give birth to a single calf measuring about 50 inches. At first, the calf travels by hanging onto the mother’s neck. After 2 weeks, it is able to swim. The young walrus nurses on its mother’s rich milk for at least 18 months. At 6 months it begins to eat solid food, and after 12 months it has usually tripled in weight. Its tusks show at this age, but they are only about 1 inch long. At 24 months the calf leaves its mother and joins a herd of other young walruses. Because of the length of time that she cares for her calf, a female cannot breed more than once every 2 years.

Sexual Maturity: Females, usually 6 to 7 years and the Males, 15 years.
Mating Season: January through March
Gestation (development): 15 months, including 3 months’ delayed implantation.
Number Of Young: 1
Weaning Time: 18 to 24 months.

E-Mail Me!
Click Me One More Time!