Latin name: Odobenus
size: 200 - 350cm
mass: 600 - 1500kg
Older: 15 - 35 years
Appearance: Skin color is age-dependent
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
food: Crustaceans, molluscs, shells
original origin: Arctic
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Drift ice, smaller islands
natural enemies: Polar bear, killer whale
sexual maturity: about the age of eight
mating season: April June
gestation: 11 months
litter size: 1 cub
social behavior: Herd animal
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the walrus
- The walrus is the largest seal species on the planet after the elephant seal. An adult male can reach a body weight of over 1.4 tons.
- Within this genus, a distinction is made depending on the habitat between the Atlantic and the slightly larger Pacific Walrus.
- Walruses live in the Arctic long stretches of coast with flat rocks, in winter, they also stick to the thick ice. They form family groups that consist of a bull and several females and their cubs.
- In the mating season, which takes place between April and June, the coasts between the males who defend their harem families and their challengers face fierce battles.
- The mating takes place in the water, for the birth of the female returns after a gestation period of one year ashore. Each female gives birth to only one baby, which is nursed for one and a half years and spends up to five years near the mother. If a cow dies, her cub is adopted by another female of the family.
- Although the walrus has tusks of up to one meter in length, it can not capture large animals. His food senses it with its hundreds of whiskers.
- The walrus uses the giant tusks to defend itself successfully against attacks by polar bears. Often the polar bears carry heavy puncture wounds after a fight with a walrus, which lead to their death.
- The tusks also serve the walrus as an important prop to move from water to land by balancing on an ice floe or a rock.
- As excellent swimmers, walruses spend much of their lives in the water. A five-inch thick layer of fat in the skin, which can weigh as much as five hundred kilograms, prevents the seals from freezing in the Arctic waters.
- Despite their massive bodies, walruses on land travel as fast as running humans when they move on all four fins.
- The walrus is the main food source for certain mussel species, which it digs out of the soil and whose meat sucks it in skilful lip movements from the shells. In the course of a single meal, a walrus can capture several thousand shells. In addition to mussels, walruses also feed on other crustaceans such as crabs as well as various snails, tunicates and cephalopods. Only very rarely do they capture smaller seals or attack young fellows.
- The teeth of walruses are made of rings, which, like trees, determine the age of the animals.
- The Eskimos are by far the most dangerous enemy of the walrus and have greatly reduced their stocks through intensive hunting. The Eastern Atlantic walruses are therefore classified as a critically endangered species.