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Inspiration / Wildlife / Walrus

The walrus with its big tusks is a bit of a legend among Greenlandic people. They are part of the seal family, but also part of a special group of predators.

The walrus is the largest seal species in the Arctic. It is easy to recognize with its large body
and the huge tusks. The walrus has gained its respect through Greenlandic myths and
legends about their big tusks. However, it is also considered dangerous, and it’s a scary
encounter if you hunt from your kayak.

The largest seal in the Arctic

Today, you can find walrus in many areas along the coast of Greenland. In the northern and eastern parts of the country, you can even get lucky and see the walrus on land. However, on the west coast, the walrus usually does not appear on land, so your chance to see them is smaller there.

The scientific name of the walrus is Odobenus Rosmarus, while we Greenlanders call them Aaveq. The name of the walrus, “rosmarus,” comes from the old Nordic “hrossval,” which translates to “the horse from the sea.” The name Odobenus comes from Old Norse, meaning “he who walks on his teeth.”

The walrus is part of the families of both true and eared seals and, also, they are part of a special family of predators because of their remarkable physique. They have a brownish coat and wide flippers. They can use their back flippers when moving on land. They are skilled and agile swimmers and can swim faster than their favorite food, the ring seal.

How big can a walrus get?

The walrus can grow to be approximately three meters long and weigh up to two tons. They are incredibly large animals. Males are significantly larger than females, both in length and body size, but they also have thicker skin. The skin can help them when fighting other males during mating.

How big are the walrus’s tusks?

Their tusks can become very large and are often seen at a length of 50 centimeters. The walruses use them to defend themselves and when they have to hoist themselves up on an ice floe or land.

Why does the walrus have a beard?

The mustache of the walrus also called the vibrissae. The whiskers contain nerves that heighten the senses of the walrus, e.g., when it’s searching for food in deep waters.

What does a walrus eat?

The walrus diet consists of mussels and invertebrate mollusks, which they collect on the seafloor. A walrus will suck the clams directly out of their shells after finding them with their beards. You will often find walrus flocks close to clam banks as they like to stay near a food source.