Walruses

Undoubtedly the largest residents of Wild Arctic, walruses tip the scales at 880 to 3,700 pounds! Their face is covered with 400 to 700 sensitive vibrissae (like whiskers) which they use to help them locate their preferred prey — clams, fishes, worms, snails, squids, and crabs. A walrus can eat 3,000 to 6,000 clams in a single feeding bout!

Walruses differ from other pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses) by having two long tusks. They use these tusks to establish social dominance, for defense, and to help pull themselves out of the water onto sea ice.

Walruses are among the most vocal of the pinnipeds. They produce growls, taps, knocks, grunts, barks, soft whistles, rasps, and clicks using their vocal cords. Male walruses produce bell-like sounds below water as part of their courtship of females.

Watch our walruses swim, feed, and interact with one another at Wild Arctic. Take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into caring for these massive mammals on our Wild Arctic Experience tour.

Q: Where do walruses live?
SW: Two subspecies of walrus live in the Arctic, geographically separated into Pacific and Atlantic populations.

Q: How old are they when their tusks start to grow?
SW: Tusks begin erupting during a calf’s first summer or fall. Tusks grow for about 15 years, although they may continue to grow in males.

Q: How long can the tusks be?
SW: Tusks can grow to a length of 39 inches in males and nearly 32 inches in females.

Q: Are they endangered?
SW: Although not currently endangered or threatened, walruses’ population status may change in the near future because of the threats they face from global climate change. They require seasonal sea ice as a place to rest when feeding, and as a safe place for mothers to rest and care for their calves. Without sea ice, walrus populations could plummet.