Walruses are found in the sub-zero temperature Arctic seas from Alaska, Canada and Greenland to Russia.

Daily Life

Illustration of a walrusSometimes walruses 'haul out', either onto rocky shores or ice floes. Quite often, they use their tusks like ice axes to help them get a better grip as they climb out of the water. The tusks are modified canine teeth which grow throughout the walrus' life. Tusks can be up to 60cm long in females, and up to 1m long in males! One of longest walrus tusk ever recorded was 94cm long, 27cm in diameter and weighed over 5kg. The tusks are also status symbols, and the larger the tusks, the more important the owner of them will be in a herd.

On land walruses are clumsy. Their feet have been flattened into flippers and, when on land, they turn their back limbs forward so that they can lumber along on all fours. The bottoms of their flippers are warty to allow them to grip ice better. In water, the hind limbs act as the walrus's propellers, while the forelimbs are used as rudders.

In the Arctic winter, walruses head south. Unlike seals, they are unable to survive under pack ice because they cannot make holes in the ice to breathe through. When spring comes, the cows and immature animals head back north, but adult males linger in the south for longer.

Read More: Food and Breeding

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