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Pacific walrus

Did you know?

Odobenus rosmarus divergens

Walruses love company. In the wild they huddle together on shore in the hundreds, piled up like puppies!

NOTE: Our walruses just left for new homes. Read their story on the blog.

Discover Walruses

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
Pacific walruses are found in the Bering and Chukchi seas. They prefer to haul out on polar ice but will use small rocky islands when ice isn’t available.
Eating
(and predators!)
Walruses love to eat clams, using their stiff whiskers to feel around the ocean floor for tasty ones. They’ll also eat other marine animals.
Their main predators are orcas, polar bears and humans.
Whistling
for a mate.
From December-March, the males (bulls) compete for a harem of females (cows). Male courtship often includes piercing whistles.
Cows usually have one baby every three years, after a 15-16-month pregnancy. Newborns stay with their mom for at least 2 years.
Pale in water
pink on land.
Walruses are huge. Between 7-12 feet long, the males can weigh up to 5,000 pounds, with females topping out at 2,700.
In water they become pale as their blood vessels contract to protect them against icy cold. On land they turn pink as the blood vessels dilate, allowing heat to escape.

Protecting walruses

The ice is melting.

THE THREAT: Walruses were severely overhunted in the 18th century. Now, climate change is their biggest threat. As Arctic ice melts they’re forced to forage in shallow water where the food quickly runs out, leading to conflict.

TAKE ACTION: Our Zoo helps walruses in the wild, supporting a sanctuary and research in Alaska. You can help by donating to the Zoo Society, and by reducing fossil fuels.

Marine Stories

Playing Bass for Blizzard

It wasn’t your average concert situation. Fingers chilling in the February breeze, I stood with my double bass poised on the grassy edge of a deep moat. My endpin and boots were planted in winter mud. Somewhere nearby, a bird sang. I drew my bow across the strings, beginning a low ripple and expanding out … Continued

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Sea Otter Surgery

Dr. Karen Wolf, left, and Dr. Caitlin Hadfield prepare Sekiu for surgery. NOTE: Graphic visual content further down the post. On a cold winter’s morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Animal Health Care, head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf did an unusual thing during surgery: She put a fresh ice pack on her patient’s chest. … Continued

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2020 Year in Photos

What a year this has been! From clouded leopard AI to a new muskox calf, from Zoolights to HeroRATs and everything in between, we’ve captured this year in our best photos of 2020.  

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Who's nearby?
Wild about walruses? Then spot our sea lions! They alternate with the harbor seals in the other pools at Rocky Shorest.