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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!

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
Meet the Keepers
Getting wet is part of the job.
Meet our keepers every day at 3pm at the Marine Mammal Keeper Chat. They’ll be somewhere around the walruses, sea lions, seals or otters – bring your questions and watch them work!
See daily schedule

Meet our Walruses

Basilla
Kulusiq
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

Penguin Chick Expedition

Dwight & Jim Move Out Moving into a new home is an exciting moment in anybody’s life. But for Dwight and Jim, penguin chicks at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it became a enriching expedition of discovery as the two newly-fledged youngsters walked across the zoo from their behind-the-scenes home into the main Penguin Point … Continued

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Puffin Exam Parade

At 8 a.m. the check-up line was assembled. Two veterinarians, two veterinary technicians, a curator and two Rocky Shores keepers all stood poised at three long tables in the seabird underwater viewing area at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Carefully lined up on the tables were a scale, spare leg bands, clippers, vials, syringes primed … Continued

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Splash! Two orphaned sea lions arrive

Two orphaned California sea lions have splashed into the Rocky Shores pools at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, taking the zoo’s total sea lion count to five. Eloise and Boomer arrived last week accompanied by zoo veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson and staff biologist Sheriden Ploof. Born last summer, the pups have been cared for by … 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.