Featured Wildlife: Walrus

usgs_home_squareAverage life span: Up to 40 years

Length: 7.25 to 11.5 feet

Weight: 1,800 to 3,700 lbs

My, what big teeth you have: The walrus’s iconic tusks are really multi-use tools. Walrus use them to haul themselves out of ocean waters, and to break breathing holes into the ice from below. Reaching up to three feet in length, these tusks are actually canine teeth that continue to grow throughout a walrus’s life.

Arctic wish list: Although walrus forage primarily on the sea floor for food, they are not deep divers, and therefore prefer shallower shelf regions with plentiful sea ice available for haul out. As sea ice continues to decline, however, walrus have only one option: make the long, exhausting and potentially perilous swim to land.