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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 – ours just sleep together in a pile like puppies!

NEWS: We have two new male walruses, Mitik and Pakak! Come meet them.

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. Find ours in Rocky Shores.
Rocky Shores
Walrus Whistling
(It's a boy thing.)
Why is Pakak whistling so much? He's pleased to see you all! Whistling is a breeding behavior in male walruses, and now that the zoo has reopened our "teenage boy" walruses are getting a lot more public attention. Come visit them and listen- and read the story to learn more.
Read the story

Meet our Walruses

Mitik
Pakak
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

Celebrating Sea Otters

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to three sea otters in the Rocky Shores habitat. Every September, one week is dedicated to bringing awareness to sea otters. Sea otters are endangered, having been hunted nearly to extinction for their thick fur. Now protected, they are still at great risk from oil spill, parasites that … Continued

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Making Walrus Music

You could say the double bass is the walrus of the music world. Large, bottom-heavy, ungainly and prone to awkward blurting noises, it doesn’t win any beauty contests. It doesn’t star in glossy movies, and often gets laughs rather than admiration. But, like actual walruses, it’s also capable of a powerful grace – and a … Continued

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Protecting Walrus Tusks

Pakak the walrus has been busy visiting with the dentist. He was recently fitted for a new tusk crown. Walruses in zoos receive regular veterinary care, including dentist checkups. Walrus tusks don’t have a hard outer enamel layer like human teeth. So the tips of many walrus tusks have metal crowns placed on them to … Continued

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Who's nearby?
Wild about walruses? Then spot our sea lion, Chinook! He’s in the big pool just beyond in the Rocky Shores habitat.