12 October 2007

Meet Chukchi the Walrus

Recently, co-workers rescued this little guy from certain starvation in the Chukchi Sea. It would seem that his mom never made it back from a foraging trip. As he is a yearling he is not able to live on his own yet. He is currently getting cared for in our facilities and because walrus require constant attention will not be able to be returned to the wild and will instead go live out the rest of his life at Sea World in San Diego. Edited to add: He weighed in around 400lbs and alomst 5ft long with 9inch budding tusks.

Picture taken by Amy Haddow

Fun Facts about walrus:

1) The plural of walrus is walrus

2) Walrus can live up to 50 years and spend 3-5 years being raised by mum, nursing for the first 2 years of their lives
3) They are circumpolar in distribution, living in the high arctic and are dependent on the seasonal availability of the ice pack.
4) They are prefer shallower waters and eat primarily mollusks (clams, etc.)
5) They have amazing suction mouths...a walrus can suck up a bowling ball with it's mouth and move it. This causes havoc with captive animals as when they get bored they suck bolts out of cages and move entire gates.
6) An adult male can weigh up to 2 tons!
7) There are 3 sub-species of walrus but they are the only living members of their family and are thought to be related to bears.


  1. It sounds so freaking city silly, but I just want to kiss its mouth, his ridiculous suction mouth.

    So there is no chance of reintroducing him back into the wild? Poor little guy.

    I hope he has a really good life.

  2. he looks really cute. how much does he weigh? (loved all the facts!)

  3. you do excellent work, sister. excellent work.

  4. Wow. I go away for a week and you have a walrus! Do they smell of rotten fish, as seals do? Loved your previous winter post.

  5. Boredom causes problems with so many species.

    I'm always surprised by the species that spend more than two years under the care of an adult, and then I remember the expectations for humans, and think, well duh!

  6. that's really cool, Chukchi-u rock!
    Another little something i am not likely to "run into". You definaitely have some neat perks with your job.

  7. i've always said walri. well, now i know....

  8. Interesting...I would've guessed they were related to elephants because of the tusks.

  9. I wonder if you'd consider posting about how big he is? How long, how much he weighs? Oh, he is precious!

  10. What a shame that he can't be released again into the wild. They look cute when they are young - not sure about them as adults, though...

  11. crazymumma ~ sadly, no. He will be far too used to humans due to the amount of care he needs. However, he will be a great ambassador to his species. Although I am not a huge fan of captivity I think zoos and aquariums play key roles in educating and reaching out to a primarily urban populace. Studies show that vistations to such sites cause people to take on environmental and conservation actions. He will be joining two other walruses who were also rescued here in San Diego.

    maypole ~ at the moment he weighs a little more then 400lbs!!

    jen ~ awwww...thanks. So do you :)

    sally forth ~ they aren't quite as strongly smelling as sea lions but they do have a unique smell. I suspect you'd notice it a lot more if he was with a colony.

    ms chica ~ yeah, i think actually part of it is separation anxiety. He's very attached to his handlers and after being abandonded by his own mum I suspect he thinks they might leave him too. He's well entertained by his toys and such during the day but when everyone goes home he gets into trouble (luckily not EVERYONE goes home so they always catch him).

    doris rose ~ isn't he adorable?

    orangeblossoms ~ yeah, one would think walri.

    mad hatter ~ nope, they evolved it indenpendently. Interestingly their genus (Odobenus) means "tooth walker".

    liv ~ he is weighs a little more then 400lbs, he's about 5ft long, and has 9 inch tusks at the moment. He is just learning to eat "real" food, i.e. fish, if he had a mother he would still be nursing. And he needs extensive daily grooming with a bristly broom. He has just finally gotten back into the water after much coaxing.

    hannah ~ yeah, it is a shame. But see my response to crazymumma above. Honestly, although I find him absolutely fascinating I'm not sure he's cute at all - he's the most ungainly thing ever. But he is cool!

  12. wow- he still looks cute.
    Wow - that walrus mummies nurse their 'infants' for 2 years - we humans ahve a lot ot learn.
    Very interesting stuff.
    Have a great holiday

  13. baby~amore' ~ welcome and thanks for commenting. Isn't he cute? In a not so cute kind of way? laugh. Thanks for the holiday wishes - I had a great time.

  14. He is so sweet! At least I thought he was until I read your facts about walruses!


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