Facts about Walruses

How much do you really know about the walrus? Chances are there is plenty about them that you haven’t heard about before. As you read these walrus facts you can be confident that your knowledge about them is going to continue to expand. The name of the walrus means “tooth walker”.

The tusks of a full grown walrus can weigh 12 pounds. Each one features from 400 to 700 whiskers. From adistance the walrus appears to be without fur. However, the entire body is covered with a very thin layer of it. The blubber, which is the layers of fat, on a walrus can be more than 4 inches thick.

 

A walrus can remain under water for up to 30 minutes before coming up for air. During migration they can travel up to 1,800 miles. The females tend to migrate further than the males. They can stand very cold water that is as low as -31 degrees Fahrenheit. When a calf is very young it will ride on the back of its mother in the water. However, it does know how to swim on its own. This method of movement is for protection and for bonding.

One of the leading causes of death for the walrus is due to various types of parasites in the water. They are able to cause problems for the skin as well as internal infections that shut down the normal functions of these animals. Males often kill each other during their fight for the right to mate or in an effort to move up the social status ladder. Females often keep their young underneath them to prevent them from being crushed by other adults in the area.

The skin of a walrus is very thick. This offers it protection from the extremely cold water as well as from many of the different predators out there. The walrus can change colors and it has to do with their skin and their body temperatures. This is all due to the fact that their blood vessels change in size when it is cold versus when it is warmer. For example when it basks in the sun the skin turns red due to the amount of blood that rushes to the skin.

WalrusThe walrus spends the cold winter months over the Bering Sea. It is common for them to pass through the Bering Strait during their migration patterns. One of the most amazing things about the walrus is that they are able to sleep while they are swimming! This is possible due to the air sacs that are located in the throat region.

There is only one species of walrus which is quite interesting. Most animals out there have many species so this is a fact that helps to identify them as unique in the eyes of researchers as well. Many people don’t realize that the walrus molts. This occurs in June or August as they no longer need their heavy winter coat.

When a walrus needs to break ice, it will do so by slamming its head against it. Then it will use the tusks to make the hole in the ice as large as it needs to. This process allows them to have breathing holes so they can stay under water for longer periods of time. They have to come up for air, but not all the way to the surface. For a very long time it was unknown how they were able to stay under water for so long. Now it is known that they are getting air but just from another source.