We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Walruses?

Michael Anissimov
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Walruses are large tusked pinnipeds (related to seals) that live in the far north, on the boundaries of the Arctic Ocean. The only living members of the Odobenidae family and Odobenus genus, the scientific species name for walruses is O. rosmarus. There are three geographically isolated subspecies, the Atlantic Walrus (O. rosmarus rosmarus), living in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Walrus (O. rosmarus divergens), living in the Pacific Ocean, and the Laptev Walrus (O. rosmarus laptevi), living in the Laptev Sea just north of Siberia. These subspecies are thought to have split between 500,000 and 785,000 years ago.

The walrus is a memorable animal, with huge white tusks, immense bulk, and whiskers (vibrissa) to help it from bumping its head against the bottom of the sea when it forages for food. Male walruses can weigh up to 4,400 lb (1,996 kg), but typically average around 2000 lbs (889 kg), and measure 11-11½ ft (3.3-3.45 m) in length on average. The tusks alone can measure 3.2 ft (1 m) in length. The females are about two-thirds the size of males, and the Pacific subspecies is about 10% larger than the Atlantic subspecies.

There are about 200,000 Pacific walruses, 20,000 Atlantic walruses, and 10,000 Laptev walruses. They gather in huge colonies, sometimes numbering tens of thousands of individuals. Walruses are opportunistic feeders, foraging on the sea bottom for tube worms, soft corals, shrimps, crabs, tunicates, and sea cucumbers. Their favorite food are benthic bivalve mollusks, which they extract from their shells using tremendous suction power, the distinctive feature of their biological family.

The tusks of walruses are used for a variety of purposes: fighting, dominance displays, poking holes into the ice, and hauling itself out of the water and onto the ice. It used to be thought that the tusks were used to stir up the ocean floor and find food, but closer studies have revealed that the front end of the snout is actually used for this purpose. Walrus tusks have historically had great value in the ivory trade, prompting the poaching and exploitation of this species. In recent times, however, this hunting has been tightly regulated, and two subspecies of walruses are rated as "least-concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, with the third subspecies listed as "data deficient".

Walruses have only two natural predators — polar bears and the orca. However, they are not a prominent part of either's diet, and killing an aggressive walrus can be a huge hassle for either species.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All Things Nature contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All Things Nature contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics,...
Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.