Odobenus rosmarus - BIO203

Form and Function

The Walrus’s body has evolved in a way that makes it easy for it to live in both the water and on the land.  In order to help them in the water, walruses have various flippers to help them navigate through ocean currents. Their back flippers help them power through the water while their front flippers help them steer. This helps the walruses navigate the water both quickly and swiftly to help them catch prey easier aimagend to also escape from potential predators.  Not only do the flippers help in the water, but they also help them on the ice.  The skin underneath their flippers is rough and has little bumps scattered across it which helps the walruses from slipping on the ice (Svalbard 2013). The walrus’s hind limbs also help them on both the land and ice.  Their hind limbs can be rotated to go underneath their body so that their limbs are facing forward instead of behind them.  This also allows the walrus to move around on the land or ice with ease.

One of the most helpful advantages that the walruses have are the shapes of their bodies.  Their body is elongated with a wider head and neck and gradually narrows to the tail.  This torpedo-shaped body gives the walruses many advantages.  First, the shape of the walrus’s body helps it to dive to the bottom of the sea to be able to obtain food. Because the body is shaped like a torpedo, it helps the walrus to plow through the water straight to the bottom.  The walrus also has a blood adaptation that helps it to be able to dive.  They have a larger amount of blood in their body in order to carry more oxygen.  About twelve percent of their body weight is attributed to their blood as opposed to seven percent of a human’s body (Svalbard 2013).  When they dive, blood is also cut off from their skin, extremities, and stomach (Svalbard 2013).  This allows more oxygen to stay within their lungs and near the most important organs such as the heart and brain.  The walrus’s body is usually grey or brown in color which helps it blend in with its surroundings to hide from hunters or other predators.  Finally, its skin is tough, wrinkled, and is coated with hairs. Theses adaptations help the walrus to remain warm on the ice or in the freezing water.




Now you know pretty much everything about the walrus! Check out the facts to see more miscellaneous information.