Skip to main content

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

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.  

Read More
Farewell, Walrus Boys!

They were rescued together as orphaned calves. Then they went to live at separate zoos for seven years before reuniting as “teenagers” here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Now, Pacific walruses Mitik and Pakak are moving out to the exciting world of a walrus harem to be with – and hopefully breed with – … Continued

Read More
Thanksgiving Feast for the Animals

Just as humans get excited for a full plate of food- so do animals. Some of the Zoo’s animals were recently given their own Thanksgiving feast, thanks to the creativity of zookeepers. HeroRATs- mini feast, tiny food The HeroRATs received a festive meal, including pumpkin pie! Staff Biologist Jessie Sutherland and Zoological Aid Natalie Lind … Continued

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