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Walrus - Odobenus rosmarus : WAZA : World Association of Zoos and Aquariums


(Odobenus rosmarus)




Facts about this animal

The walrus is a very large and robust pinniped, with a brown skin. The skin is covered with short coarse hair. The walrus' most distinctive features are the large tusks (enlarged upper canine teeth up to 1.5m). The Atlantic subspecies O.r.rosmarus measures about 300 cm and weigh 1'200 kg. Females measure 250 cm and weigh 750 kg. The Pacific walrus O.r.divergens is slightly larger. The walrus is a social animal, forming mixed herds of up to 2'000 of more during feeding and migration. In breeding time older males defend harems. They feed on molluscs and crustaceans.

Did you know?
that walruses use their whiskers (vibrissae) to locate food?. A walrus has about 400-700 vibrissae on its snout. These are attached to muscles and are supplied with blood and nerves. A walrus moves its snout through bottom sediment to find food.


Name (Scientific) Odobenus rosmarus
Name (English) Walrus
Name (French) Morse
Name (German) Walross
Name (Spanish) Morsa
Local names Danish, Hvalros
Icelandic: Rostungur
Norwegian: Hvalross
Swedish: Valross
CITES Status Appendix III (Canada and Danemark)
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Range Circumpolar region of the Arctic
Habitat Areas with ice floes in the shallower regions near the coasts of Arctic waterways
Wild population Pacific Walruses 200,000 (1990) (Wikipedia 2011), Atlantic Walrus below 18.000-20,000 (2006) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 25 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 76 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos keep walruses primarily for educational purposes to demonstrate how the carnivores adapted to arctic and maritime conditions and thus became able to expand their range into the seas and the north polar zone. Of course the walrus is also an excellent ambassador for its ecosystem and may serve as a flagship species for campaigns or educational programmes raising awareness about Global Warming.