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

Food and Breeding

Clams, cockles and mussels are the walrus's main food. It uses the bristles of its moustache to sense its prey in the murky waters just above the sea bed. It possibly also uncovers food in soft mud by squirting water from its mouth.

Walruses will eat other marine invertebrates such as shrimps, worms, octopuses, sea cucumbers and some fish. They will even attack seals, grasping them with their forelimbs and slashing at them with their tusks.

Breeding: Breeding takes place between January and March. Large herds of bulls, cows and calves gather together and the bulls fight for the cows. Those with the longest tusks are those who get to mate with the cows, and each victorious male will mate with several.

Mating takes place in the water, and a single calf is born about 15 months after mating, often as the herds are heading back north after the winter. The female hauls out onto an ice floe to give birth to her calf, which measures 125cm at birth. The calf first travels by hanging onto its mother's neck, but it is quickly taught to swim and is quite a capable swimmer by two weeks of age. The calf feeds on its mother's rich milk for at least 18 months, but begins to eat solid food after six months and after a year will usually have tripled in weight. The calf separates from its mother after about two years, and attaches itself to a herd of young walruses.

Read More: Walruses and humans

Related Resources