Today we bring you one of the wild animals of the ocean: the walrus. This spectacular mammal bears a strong resemblance to the sea lion and seals because of its large mustaches and wrinkled skin; however, its size, tusks, and intimidating appearance make it different from other marine mammals. If you want to learn more about this particular wild animal, continue reading this post and learn about its habitat, food, and outstanding features about it and its wildlife.
Where do they live?
These extraordinary animals are found in the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean. They can live both on land and at sea, which they do in herds. The male leader being in charge of taking care of the herd of its most dangerous predators, such as the polar bear, sharks, killer whales, and, of course, humans.
Walruses coexist in several areas of the circumpolar zone. The walrus that lives in the Pacific Ocean, we can see in the sea of Bering, Lápter, and Chuckchi; the walruses that live in the Atlantic Ocean, we can appreciate in the coastal area of the United States, Russia, and Canada.
These large mammals spend long periods resting on the Antarctic ice; they only submerge in the cold waters when they go in search of food for themselves or their young.
Walruses travel very long distances, this they do annually to look for food, to mate and also to move away from the warm climate since this can produce a bacterium that severely affects their health and even produces death.
What do they feed on?
Walruses feed on more than 60 species of marine animals, including shrimp, crabs, clams, snails, sea cucumbers, worms, corals, birds, seals, and dead sea lions.
These enormous mammals have a peculiar way of hunting, and they do it through their whiskers, which they use to detect their prey when it is inside the water since their vision is very deficient in the sea.
Are walruses in danger of extinction?
The world population of walruses is 250,000 individuals in nature. They were several times, in the past, in danger of extinction because they were frequently hunted for their tusks and oil.
Significant Characteristics of the Walrus
- Its skin has a brown coloration; however, this color can change due to the temperature of the water, being about 40 millimeters thick, which allows it to protect itself from the cold and predators.
- Males tend to be more developed and more cumbersome than females, so they are responsible for protecting the group and feeding the young.
- There are currently three different types of walruses: Atlantic, Pacific, and Láptev Sea; the point they have most in common is that they are all kept in the region closest to the poles.
- When a walrus is in danger or is hunting and needs to break the ice, it does so by smashing its head against the frozen floor; then it uses its tusks to open a hole in the floor. He also uses his enormous tusks as a lever to get his body out of the water.
- These marine animals are very sociable with each other, allowing them to be close to each other; this behavior provides them with greater protection from predators, especially polar bears.
- Females tend to have more years of life than males, with an approximate duration of 40 years. They are also very protective of their offspring; they do this to prevent any adult from harming them.
- Males have an average life span of 30 years. Their age is evidenced by the appearance of the skin, which loses color over the years.
- The male walruses reach sexual maturity at 15 years of age; while the females, on the other hand, reach maturity earlier: between 6 and 9 years of age. These marine mammals mate under icy water, and during these periods adult males become very aggressive and fight for the reign of the flock.
- A walrus only gives birth to one calf, and can do so on the ground or a frozen floor; the calf is fed milk for two years, then begins a diet based on shellfish and mollusks.
- One of the leading causes of death of walruses is due to several types of parasites in the water, these parasites and bacteria can cause them problems in the skin, as well as internal infections that suffocate the normal functions of these animals.
- Walruses are hunted to use the ivory in their tusks, so they are sold to make various objects, or to remove oil from their body fat like their skin, which is used to make leather goods.
- The oil spills and the pollution present in the seas have severely damaged the life of the walruses; these animals have seen their natural habitat altered, having to migrate to little known places, which has brought harmful consequences for these mammals.
- Global warming is a clear threat to their diet, which can cause these extraordinary mammals to become cannibalistic predators of their species.