Svalbard, Norway

Walrus swim in the Arctic sea. Three animals with their heads above the water. Front view of tusks, mouth open and whiskers.

copyright Anette Mossbacher, 31 March, 2021

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This photograph was captured with a Canon EOS-1D X and a lens. The following settings were used:

  • Aperture: ƒ/6.3
  • Exposure time: 1/1250s
  • ISO: 1000
  • Focal Length: 400mm

The original photograph has the following dimensions: 5041 by 3361 pixels (WxH).

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Colossal walruses swim up to you and are very curious by nature. They came right up to me with the zodiac. Sometimes they come so close that you have to drive off or try to keep them at a distance. They do not attack the zodiac/boat at all and are not aggressive towards us. They want to say hello and find out who we are.

A walrus can weigh up to three times as much as a polar bear! The walrus, otherwise known as the king or giant of the Arctic, can weigh up to 1360 kilograms. That is the weight of a small car. Their tusks are multi-functional, and they use them for many purposes. They are used to cut through ice, for pulling themselves out of the water and also in defense. Males will fight each other for dominance. Generally, the larger the tusks, the more dominant the male. These teeth can grow up to 1 meter / 3 feet long. Walruses swim in seas with temperatures as low as -35 celsius / -31 Fahrenheit. They can withstand these incredibly low temperatures for two reasons. Firstly, they have thick layers of blubber to insulate them. Secondly, they can slow their heart rate down, which allows them to live comfortably in the Arctic.

You like to discover more about the tremendous Walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, have a look into Norsk Polar Institute.
This species is considered as vulnerable on the IUCN list.

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