Wonderful choice! Walrus is a large sea mammal with long tusks!


Photo from Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mammals

What do they look like?

Walruses are large seals with long tusks. They have stiff whiskers across the snout. They are close relatives of the seals. They have flippers, tough skin, and a thick layer of blubber (as much as 6 inches thick). The thick layer of fat keep them warm. They are strong swimmers but are very awkward on land. When walruses leave the sea to lie on ice or rocks, they often pile on top of each other in a big heap.

What are their habitats?

They live in shallow coastal waters where there are ice floes. The icy Arctic Ocean is the home of walruses. Walruses can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, the coast of Scandinavia to Greenland, easter Canada, and other locations.

What are their favorite food?

Walruses eat shellfish (oyster, clams, and other mollusks) and other creatures that live on the ocean floor, using their whiskers to find food in the dark, murky water.

How big are they?

The size of a walrus is a big advatage for them. They can grow to be as long as 12 feet, and huge weight of 3,300 (male) and 1,800 (female) pounds. It is about 150 times larger than a clam.

What are some interesting facts?

* Use of tusks

Walruses have two long teeth called tusks that grow down from their upper jaws. They use their tusks to cut breathing holes in the ice. They use them to hook into ice to pull their huge bodies out of the water. They use their tusk to protect themselves, and to search sand for oyster and other mollusks. The male walrus with the biggest tuskes is usually in charge of a group.

*Red skin

Walruses turn red when they sunbathes because heat causes their arteries to enlarge, and the blood rushes to the skin.

Photo from Scholastic First Encyclopedia

*Team work

When walruses are not in the water, they lay on the ice in large groups. One stands guard while the others sleep. If one is in danger, others come to the rescue.


A family of walruses usually includes l male, which is called a bull, and 1 to 3 females. When a family of walruses goes to a new area, the female swims on her back while the calf is holding the females chest. Mother walreses teach their babies how to swim and find food.

Links to Other Web Sites for More Infomation:
Looking for a Walrus
Walrus: Books for Young Readers

To learn about other ocean mammals click HERE.