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This cinnamon-colored gentle giant is called a walrus. While its size is intimidating it is actually a carnivore. This animal is generally not aggressive and prefers to eat small crustaceans and mollusks. They are among the largest pinnipeds — fin-footed, semi-aquatic marine mammals.
See the fact file below for more information on walrus or alternatively, you can download our 21 page Walrus worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE NEED TO KNOW
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Odobenidae
- Genus & species: Odobenus rosmarus
- Subspecies: Odobenus rosmarus divergens (Pacific walrus), Odobenus rosmarus laptevi (Laptev walrus), Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus (Atlantic walrus).
SIZE and APPEARANCE
- Walrus weigh from 600 to 1,700 kilograms and can be as long as 3.2 meters. Males are about twice as big as females, have longer and thicker tusks and have thick skin.
- Walrus have large, flabby bodies covered in brown or pink skin. Short fur covers most of their bodies except for their fins. They have two small eyes, a mustache and two tusks.
- Walrus tusks can grow up to 3 feet long. The tusks are canine teeth and stick out from either side of its mouth. Walrus use their tusks to break through ice, to assist in climbing out of the water and onto ice, and for dredging the seafloor for food.
- Walruses have very thick whiskers that are very sensitive, helping them find clams, shrimp, crabs, tube worms and other small invertebrates on the seafloor.
- Younger walrus have dark brown skin, but they get lighter as they get older until they almost turn pink.
HABITAT and HABITS
- In water, walrus can reach 35 km/h, but they prefer a sedate 7 km/h. Walrus do not go further than 30 km off the coast. They use their rear limbs to propel, while the front limbs work like rudders for steering.
- A group of walrus is called a herd. They gather by the hundreds to sunbathe on ice floes and beaches.
- A herd is usually segregated by gender with males and females gathering in their own herds. The dominant males are chosen by age, body size and tusk length.
- Walrus were once hunted, causing their numbers to drop, but since most hunting has stopped, their numbers have recovered and they’re not endangered. Their only natural predators are the polar bear and orca.
- When in cold water, walrus have the ability to contract their outer blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the skin and blubber. This helps prevent heat loss but also makes the walrus appear almost white.
- Walrus are carnivores, but they aren’t ferocious hunters. The walrus’ favorite food is shellfish. They dive underwater and use their whiskers to detect shellfish in the dark waters of the ocean.
- According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Study Center, a walrus can eat up to 4,000 clams in one feeding. When food is hard to come by, walrus will eat the carcasses of dead seals.
- Female’s gestation period is 15 to 16 months. She will give birth to one calf.
- A newborn calf can already swim. It swims alongside its mother for the first three years of its life.
- Calves are grey to brown in color and weigh about 99-165 pounds at birth. They turn reddish brown within a few weeks and grow rapidly on their mother’s rich milk.
- Then, at 3 years old, the male calves will go off to live with the male herd.
- At 15 years old, males will start to mate. But first, they have to rise to the top of the hierarchy. Females will start to breed at 5 years old.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Walrusacross 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use walrus worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about this cinnamon-colored gentle giant which is called a walrus. While its size is intimidating size and is a carnivore, this animal is generally not aggressive and prefers to eat small crustaceans and mollusks. They are among the largest pinnipeds — fin-footed, semi-aquatic marine mammals.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Walrus Facts
- Quick Quiz
- Gomphotoria Pugnax
- Living Species
- Measured Hierarchy
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Link will appear as Walrus Facts & Worksheets: http://www.grabillautomotive.com - KidsKonnect, April 25, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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