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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

Joan
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

10 Rainy Day Reasons to Visit the Zoo

Rainy day? Here in the Pacific Northwest we get a lot of them. But that’s actually one of the best times to visit the Zoo! Fewer crowds, cool animals and plenty of places to stay dry. Here are 10 ways to do it. 1. Gaze at sea turtles Our new Pacific Seas Aquarium is the … Continued

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Moea the sea otter arrives

She’s calm and confident– and loves her breakfast. Moea (pronounced “Mia”) is the newest sea otter at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and she’s already settling into life at the Rocky Shores habitat with our other otters Libby and Sekiu. She’ll make her official debut with them Jan. 5 and 6, with special sea otter … Continued

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The Walrus Ladies

We love walruses – and especially the three walrus ladies of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Joan, Basilla and Kulusiq (or Kulu, for short) each have their own unique physical and personality traits, interacting with their keepers in their own special ways. For Walrus Awareness Week (Dec. 2-8), we’re celebrating our three lovely Pacific walruses. … 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.