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Interesting Facts About The Walrus

Updated on June 15, 2013

The earth has so many amazing animals, some of them beautiful, some ugly and some whose appearance cannot be described. Among those that are just amazing in their own way are walruses. These animals have the appearance of a cow with the tusks of the elephant. This makes them unique and lovely to watch. They are very social animals and this means that they are normally seen in clusters. The walrus uses its tusks to lift its bulky weight from the sea onto the ice. This makes the animal appear as though it uses its tusk to walk but this is not the case. There are only two know subspecies; the Atlantic and Pacific walruses. The two subspecies are almost similar in things such as behavior; diet and appearance the only difference being that the Pacific ones are a bit larger in size. This article will give description of some amazing facts about these animals.

The Tusks

As mentioned above, the most notable thing about a walrus is the tusk. In actual sense, the tusks are just elongated canines that have been modified for specific uses. One of the uses of the tusks is to haul the animal onto an ice surface. Secondly, the tusks are used to break ice to create an air hole for the animal to breathe. The tusks are found in both females and males but the males have been known to have longer tusks. Maybe the reason for these is that they use to tusks to fight. Research has shown that female walruses will prefer to mate with bulls, male walruses, which have longer and more commanding tusks.


The social order of walruses dictates that the bull that has the longest tusks has the highest level of authority. Therefore the bull that has the longest tusks will have the highest command and have more females to mate with. Their skin is very tough to protect them from getting severe injuries when fighting for dominion and females.

Food and diet:

Another thing that is easily noted is that these animals have whisker like hairs but they are not hairs at all. They are known as vibrissae and they are as sensitive and tactile just like the cats. They have a very specific use in that the walrus has almost zero visibility while on the sea floor so this is where the vibrissae come in handy. They are connected to the walruses' neural system and they relay information that is tactile in nature to the brain and then brain then defines that which is food and that which is not food. Normally, walruses eat sea cucumbers, crabs and mollusks. In the event that food is not readily available, these animals will change their diet and eat seals, octopus and fish.


Weight and movement:

To say the least, these are big animals and males will weigh as much as 1,700 kilos with females being about 1,200 kilos in weight. In normal cases, the walrus can grow to 12 feet in length. The hides of walruses are very thick and this also serves to protect them from the severe cold of the environments they live in. Just under the hide, there is a thick layer of blubber that serves to reduce heat loss from the body. The blubber also helps a lot when the animal is swimming is deep in the ocean where the water is very cold. The animals also have flippers that are used in swimming. As far as their outer color is concerned, walruses have a color that falls between grey and brown. However, this changes according to the behavior of the blood vessels. The vessels will contract when it's very cold and this means that almost no blood finds its way to the skin and this makes the color turn to almost white. When the sun is out and the walruses decide to bask, these vessels will dilate and this makes the walruses appear to be red.


There are sometimes that polar bears decide to attack a walrus, the other walruses will not run away but will rush to the defense of the one under attack. This is because walruses are very fond of each other and form very close bonds.


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