These large creatures dot Alaska's coast. Walruses are often found near shallow water
close to land, or on the frozen ice up north. A typical male walrus is 10 feet long and
weighs in at an enormous 4,000 pounds. The females are much smaller growing to 8 ½ feet
and 2,000 pounds. A good-size male consumes 5 to 7 percent of his body weight (approximately
200 pounds) in food each day.
Their main diet is made up of shellfish such as clams, mussels, and crabs as well as seals
The scientific name for walrus is "Odobenus rosmarus", which means tooth walker in Latin. These large animals grow massive tusks - both male and female. The tusks can grow to an astonishing length of 39 inches weighing approximately 12 pounds. The name "Tooth Walker" is appropriate. Walrus often use their large tusks to pull themselves on the land or ice. The tusks are also used to break ice and as lethal weapons to hunt their prey. Native Alaskans once used walrus tusks to make ivory spear tips and handles for their knifes.
Another interesting fact about these animals is the changing of color they often make. They are white when submerged in the water and pink when they emerge from the water. Once on land they turn to their original brown reddish color.
These large animals usually live for 30 to 35 years. Walruses usually move in large groups and are often seen lying on beaches throughout Alaska.
Text by: Alaska's Mammals (Pg. 82-83),
A Child's Alaska (Pg. 22-23),
The Alaska Almanac 19th Edition
Photo by: AK Division of Tourism
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