Walruses and Humans
Humans have taken walruses into captivity mainly for entertainment and aquariums, however sometimes they are kept for research and other purposes.
Facts about Walruses, Habitat, Feeding, Anatomy, Reproduction, Walrus evolution, communication, predators and social structure
Introduction to Walruses
Many people find the walrus to be one of the most fascinating animals in the world. There is no denying what it is when you see those two long tusks in front of the face. They have a long history of living in the Arctic regions, surviving in the cold water and on the ice. They have long been a source of food for the people of the Arctic but these people find a use for the entire walrus so they are very respectful in the manner that they use it.
The walrus is a very large animal and one that is believed to have evolved millions of years ago from a tropical ancestors.
Walruses feature front and back flippers that help them to swim as well as to move around on land. Due to their large size, a walrus is typically seen moving around at about 4 miles per hour. When necessary they can move at a speed of up to 20 miles per hour for short periods of time.
There is still plenty that we don’t know about the walrus. Even though they have been researched for a very long time, too much of what they do isn’t well observed by humans. This is due to the isolated regions in which they live. Many things have been learned by observing the walruses that are in captivity. Yet we have to remember that they may not be the same as what would occur in the wild.
The feeding habits of the walrus are very interesting. They consume foods from the bottom of the water including mollusks such as clams. They have also been known to feed on seals carcasses in the area when they need to. Due to the large size of these animals they have to consume large amounts of food each day. Generally that will be about 6% of their overall body weight.
Top Walrus Facts
- A walrus can remain under water for up to 30 minutes before coming up for air.
- The skin of a walrus is very thick. This offers it protection from the extremely cold water
Walrus Social Structure
The females are very protective of their young. They take care of them for about two years before they go out on their own. They bonding process between them is amazing. All of the walruses though seem to have a high level of communication. They also have a desire for physical contact with each other. It is for this reason that they have a very detailed social structure. They form very large herds that have a hierarchy that is set up overall as well as for sub groups. Due to the many changes that occur in the life of a walrus they can move from one herd to the next. For example males are separate from females and those with offspring to care for are separate herds for that period of time as well.
In the past the walrus has been in jeopardy of extinction due to low numbers. However, the early conservation efforts such as a preventing the sales of ivory have helped them to make a comeback. They aren’t considered to be at risk at this time. However, they are still carefully watched to help ensure that the numbers don’t start to go down enough for interventions to be necessary.
Walruses and Global Warming
We also have to consider the fact that global warming is a huge problem for the walrus. They depend on those layers of ice to offer them a place to rest. It is also on the ice where the young are born. Since the people that live in the area of the walrus tend to be protective of them and to depend on them for meat, they don’t often engage in behaviors that will harm them such as releasing harmful chemicals into the water where they live.