walrus(redirected from walruses)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
See R. Perry, The World of the Walrus (1968).
( Odobaenus rosmarus), the only species of the family Odobenidae of the order Pinnipedia. The males are up to 3.7 m long and weigh up to 1.5 tons; the females reach a length of 3.3 m and a weight of 1.1 tons. The skin is thick and folded, particularly on the neck. The hairy covering of young walruses is thick and brown; the hair of old walruses is sparse and yellow. The walrus has no external ears or tail. The hindflippers, which can turn forward under the body, serve for locomotion on dry land. There are between 18 and 26 teeth with flat chewing surfaces (to grind mollusk shells). The canines of the upper jaw are particularly massive and long.
The walrus is found in the polar regions. In the USSR it is encountered off the shores of Novaia Zemlia, near Franz Josef Land, and in the Laptev, Chukchi, and Bering seas. The largest walrus lairs are on Wrangel Island and along the shores of the Chukchi Peninsula.
Walruses feed primarily on benthic mollusks found at depths of 20 to 50 m. The gestation period is about one year. Newborn calves are 1–1.2 m long and weigh about 30 kg; they feed on milk for one or two years and are sexually mature at six or seven years of age. Walrus populations are very small everywhere. In the USSR walrus hunting is permitted only among the local population of Chukchi Peninsula.
REFERENCESMlekopitaiushchie fauny SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
DaVnevostochnye lastonogie. Vladivostok, 1966.
A. G. TOMILIN