Odobenus rosmarus - BIO203

Habitat

 accessed [20/02/2014], Hinterland Who's Who (www.hww.ca). Used with permission Used with permission. accessed [20/02/2014],  Hinterland Who's Who (www.hww.ca). Used with permission.                                                                                             
 
        Walruses are found in icy habitats, which  includes the Artic and Subartic regions where ice is more prevalent, around the Northern Hemisphere (U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995.). There are two different species of walrus: Atlantic walrus and the Pacific walrus.  The Atlantic walrus that lives near Northeastern Canada and Greenland and the Pacific walrus, can be seen around the Bering, Laptev, and Chukchi Seas (Goswami, A. and K.E. Jones. 2010; National Geographic Society. 1996.).  Walruses live together in herds, but only at certain times; males and females will live in separate herds when it is no longer mating season (Defenders of Wildlife. 2013.).

            An important factor as to where a walrus will inhabit is the water depth. Water depth is important because this dictates how far a walrus will have to go do to be able to get food. Thus walruses typically are at places that have a shallower depth to make it easier for them to access food (Baker, H. 2013.). The shorter the distance they have to reach the shorter amount of time they have to hold their breath (go to adaptations).

         Ice is an important part of the walrus habitat because they will occasionally come up out of the water to do things; such as giving birth to their young or to be able to rest. Walruses also use ice to help protect them from  bad weather, help them be more secluded from predators, such as polar bears, and is mating grounds for them (MacCracken, J.G. 2012. ). To be able to be in an icy environment all year round  walruses will migrate back and forth in order to be in area that has thick enough  ice for them to go on without breaking. When the season changes into summer, walruses will migrate to the north and vice versa in the winter, to the south in order to be on the ice (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995).  Not only do walruses go on ice but some do go onto land but just on the coast.
    

Used with permission. Photo courtesy of Geological Survey.
    This is a picture of a herd of Walruses resting on an ice floe in the middle of the sea. Females will normally be on the ice floes when it is not mating season. 
   

                                                                                                       This image is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Courtesy of  U.S. Geological Survey

 Used with permission. Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey
      Males are more prone to be on sand or on beaches rather than be on ice (Baker, H. 2013.). More predators/ threats will be on the coast such as humans or even dogs. The females are the ones who take care of the young and it is risky for them to go onto land because young walruses are unable to swim very far and there is a possibility of having predators on coastal areas (MacCracken, J.G. 2012. ). Ice is the most optimal place for the women and young to be.
    

This image is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

        This is photo is most likely of just male walruses. Male walruses are prone to be resting on the coast during a non mating season.

        One big problem for the walrus which is climate change. Due to climate change ice has been receding and the amount of ice that there is in the summer and winter has been reducing (MacCracken, J.G. 2012. ).  With less ice or thinner  ice, there is a lesser amount of animals who are able to be on the ice, or fewer amount of walruses in a herd. Ice is the thickest and most prevalent in the month of March but as each year goes by the decline of ice has been about 0.5% each year (MacCracken, J.G. 2012. ).

 

Now that you know where a walrus lives you may want to know how they are able to live in this type of environment. Check out the adaptations of a walrus to find out!