The walrus is a semiaquatic marine mammal characterised by its giant dimension, lengthy tusks and moustache-like whiskers. The walrus belongs to the group Pinnipedia, which can be house to the walrus’s closest kinfolk: the seals and sea lions. The walrus is the one residing member of the household Odobenidae. It’s present in shallow Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, the place it forages for mollusks and different marine animals.
Learn on to find extra about this distinctive Arctic animal…
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- Scientific title: Odobenus rosmarus
- Household: Odobenidae
- Order: Carnivora
- Class: Mammalia
- Size: 2.2 to three.6 m / 7.22 to 11.81 ft.
- Weight: (typical) 800 – 1,700 kg / 1764 – 3748 lb.; (most) 2,000 kg / 4409 lb.
- Conservation standing: Susceptible
What Kind Of Animal Is A Walrus?
A walrus is a pinniped. Pinnipeds are semiaquatic marine* mammals of the clade Pinnipedia.
* Just one pinniped, the Baikal seal, is discovered solely in freshwater habitats.
The opposite pinnipeds are the seals and sea lions, that are the walrus’s closest kinfolk.
Pinnipeds have quite a few diversifications for a semiaquatic life-style, together with streamlined our bodies, flippers for limbs, and a layer of blubber that gives insulation in chilly water.
The walrus is the one residing member of the household Odobenidae, though a number of extinct members of this household have been found.
Odobenidae is one in all three pinniped households:
- Odobenidae (the walrus)
- Otariidae (“eared seals”) (sea lions and fur seals)
- Phocidae (“earless seals”) (true seals)
Genetic proof means that walruses cut up from the eared seals after the eared seals had cut up from the earless seals. Due to this fact, the walrus is extra closely-related to eared seals than it’s to earless seals.
The Walrus Is A Carnivoran
The walrus – like all pinnipeds – belongs to the mammalian class Carnivora, which additionally incorporates households such because the canine household Canidae, the cat household Felidae, and the bear household Ursidae.
Confused about phrases akin to “class”, “order” and “household”? Take a look at this web page: Animal Classification
The ancestor of all residing pinnipeds was an otter-like land carnivoran. Over hundreds of thousands of years the pinnipeds grew to become ever-more tailored for all times within the sea.
Pinnipeds are not associated to whales and dolphins, which advanced from a special group of mammals.
You could find out extra in regards to the various kinds of mammals on this web page: Sorts of Mammals
The walrus has two subspecies: the Atlantic walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), and the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens).
The Pacific walrus’s inhabitants, which numbers round 200,000 people, is significantly bigger than that of the Atlantic walrus, which consists of solely round 25,000 people. Bodily, the Pacific walrus tends to be barely bigger than its Atlantic cousin.
Like different pinnipeds, the walrus has a streamlined, torpedo-shaped physique for environment friendly swimming, and a suppose, insulating layer of blubber.
In contrast to different pinnipeds, the walrus has tusks and almost hairless pores and skin.
The walrus has traits widespread to each eared and earless seals. Just like the eared seals, the walrus can flip its hind flippers forwards to be able to stroll on land, though resulting from its bulk it would additionally shuffle and even roll to maneuver round.
(When on land, earless seals transfer by shuffling forwards on their stomachs, pulling themselves together with their entrance flippers.)
Just like the earless seals (and not like the eared seals), the walrus is reliant primarily on its hind flippers when swimming. Additionally just like the earless seals, the walrus lacks exterior ears.
Each female and male walruses have tusks, these of the male being longer and sturdier than these of the feminine. A walrus’s tusks are elongated higher canine enamel.
The tusks of a giant male walrus can attain lengths of as much as 1 m / 3.28 ft.
A walrus makes use of its tusks to make and preserve respiratory holes within the ice, and likewise when hauling its large physique out of the water and onto the ice. A walrus doesn’t use its tusks for digging up prey from the seabed.
Throughout the breeding season, male walruses use their tusks to intimidate and combat different males. The male walrus with the longest tusks is usually the dominant male on the seashore.
The place Does The Walrus Reside?
The walrus is present in shallow coastal waters in Arctic and sub-Arctic areas. The Atlantic walrus subspecies is discovered from northeast Canada to western Russia. The Pacific walrus is discovered from jap Russia and Alaska. Pacific walruses are migratory, inhabiting the Bering Sea in winter, and migrating to the Chukchi Sea to summer season.
You could find out extra in regards to the Arctic on this web page: Arctic Info
Feeding And Food regimen: What Does A Walrus Eat?
The walrus, like all pinnipeds, is a carnivore, and extra particularly, a molluscivore (a carnivore that primarily feeds on mollusks).
You could find out extra about this and different animal diets on this web page: What Do Animals Eat?
The walrus is usually a forager reasonably than an energetic hunter, its weight loss program consisting primarily of clams, mussels, and different bivalve mollusks, which it locates on the ocean mattress utilizing its delicate mystacial vibrissae (whiskers). A walrus can eat as much as 6,000 clams in a single session.
You could find out extra about bivalves and different forms of mollusks on this web page: Sorts of Mollusks
The walrus is a suction feeder. It sucks shellfish out of their shells by making a seal with its lips and forming a vacuum with its highly effective tongue. The smooth physique elements of the shellfish are then swallowed with out being chewed.
In addition to bivalve mollusks, the walrus can even eat a variety of different marine animals, together with snails, worms, crabs, shrimp and sea cucumbers. Gradual-moving fish can also be caught.
When its regular meals is scarce, a walrus could eat carrion, notably seal carcasses. There are additionally situations of particular person walruses growing a style for seal flesh and actively searching bearded and ringed seals.
Though able to diving to depths of round 500 m / 1,640 ft, the walrus usually forages in waters of depths of between 20 and 30 m / 66 and 98 ft.
You possibly can see walruses of their pure atmosphere within the video under.
The walrus is a extremely social species, often present in giant teams generally known as herds. A walrus herd can encompass a whole bunch of people.
For a lot of the 12 months, males (bulls) and females (cows) kind separate herds. Bigger, blended herds kind through the mating season, which lasts from January to March.
Throughout the mating season, males change into extremely aggressive, and can compete over the possession of teams of females. Mating takes place within the water.
Gestation lasts for 15 to 16 months, with females giving beginning to a single calf (or, very sometimes, twins) within the spring.
A walrus calf is ready to swim as quickly as it’s born, and can dwell with its mom till three years of age. At the moment, younger males go away the feminine herd to dwell with a male herd.
Threats to The Walrus
The walrus has the IUCN Purple Checklist conservation standing of “Susceptible”. All through the 18th and 19th centuries, walruses had been hunted in giant numbers, pushing the Atlantic subspecies near extinction.
Right this moment, solely indigenous peoples are allowed to hunt the walrus.
The walrus is a particularly giant and well-defended animal. Solely two animals will tackle a full-grown walrus: the polar bear and the killer whale / orca.
A polar bear is at risk of dropping a combat towards a walrus, and can due to this fact solely often try an assault if determined.