Walrus

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by jcomtois
Last updated 1 month ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Animals
Grade:
5

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Walrus

Walrus

Appearance

A walrus's skin is thick and tough. It may reach a thickness of 2 to 4 cm (0.79-1.6 in). It is thickest on the neck and shoulders of adult males, where it protects the animal against jabs by the tusks of other walruses. The skin of males often has large nodules; these are absent in females.

Walruses are among the most vocal of the pinnipeds. They produce growls, taps, knocks, grunts, barks, soft whistles, rasps, and clicks. Male walruses produce bell-like sounds below water. These sounds are not produced by the vocal cords but originate from air sacs, which extend from the pharynx.

Habitat

Communication

Atlantic walruses inhabit coastal areas from northeastern Canada to Greenland, while Pacific walruses inhabit the northern seas off Russia and Alaska, migrating seasonally from their southern range in the Bering Sea—where they are found on the pack ice in winter—to the Chukchi Sea.

Odobenus rosmarus

Scientific Name

Babies

Predators

Endangered

The entire pregnancy lasts about 15 months, but the baby actually grows for only 11 months. The mother will usually seek a private ice float when she's ready to give birth. A newborn walrus, known as a pup or a calf, may weigh 100 to 150 pounds. Baby walruses are well developed when born with fur and open eyes, and they can swim within about an hour.

Due to its great size and tusks, the walrus has only two natural predators: the killer whale (orca) and the polar bear. The walrus does not, however, comprise a significant component of either predator's diets. Both the orca and the polar bear are also most likely to prey on walrus calves.

There is not enough data to determine whether or not the walrus is endangered.

Diet

Walruses prefer molluscs - mainly bivalves such as clams. They also eat many other kinds of benthic invertebrates including worms, gastropods, cephalopods, crustaceans, sea cucumbers, and other soft-bodied animals. Walruses may occasionally prey on fishes such as polar cod.


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