Earth’s Treasure Chest
Wildlife Mural Mosaic

Marjorie Dagg


Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus – Atlantic walrus
Credit for image source: Aitken

Artist Comments:.Walruses are smart, social, mammals that can live 40 years. An adult male may weigh 2,000 pounds and a female 1200 pounds. They have four feather-like flippers and are smooth, graceful swimmers that can travel up to 20 km/hr, dive to 100m and remain under water up to half an hour.
Walrus tusks are enlarged upper canine teeth that appear at age 2. Tusks can grow to 39” or more and weigh more than 5kg (11 lbs.) in males, but are smaller and more slender in females. Their tusks help them pull themselves out of the water or onto ice floes, and are also used in fighting. Walruses prefer living on ice, but have been known to live on coasts and beaches during the warm summer months. They largely eat clams (several thousand a day), worms, sea cucumbers, snails, crustaceans, and occasionally seals. They use their stiff whiskers to locate food on the sea bottom.
The Atlantic Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), which was once abundant in the Northwestern Atlantic regions of Canada, is listed on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Sara Registry (Species at Risk Act) as “extirpated” - they are no longer found in the wild in that area. This was due mainly to hunting (for their meat/blubber, skin, ivory tusks and oil) and nowadays commercial hunting is prohibited in Canada. In Canada, this subspecies is currently found only in the Eastern and High Arctic. Threats facing the walrus today are habitat alteration, illegal hunting, human activities on or near hauling-out grounds (boats and low-flying planes), and disturbance by commercial fishing, and oil and gas exploration and extraction.