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The Walrus

The Hall Beach Hotel

in Hall Beach, Nunavut Canada

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The Walrus

Walruses are slow on land but in the water they are very fast and strong. They dive down hundreds of feet to retrieve their favorite food, clams, from the sea bottom. A walrus can eat 4,000 clams in one feeding!

A male walrus grows to be about 12 feet long and weighs about 2 tons. The tusks are the first thing that you notice on a walrus. They are huge canine teeth and both male and female walruses have them. The walrus tusks are made of ivory and can grow to be four feet long. The longer the walrus tusk is the more important their rank in a group. You can tell how old a walrus is by the number of rings you can find in a cross-section of its teeth (like tree rings). Some walruses live to be 35 years old.

The walrus can walk on all four of their fins. They also have air sacs in their necks that allow then to sleep with their head held up in the water.

The Inuit hunt the walrus for food and put every part of its body to good use. They use the tusks for the delicate art of carving called "scrimshaw." In Hall Beach, popular dishes include walrus stew spiced with coiled intestines and igunaq (aged walrus meat). Elders say igunaq tastes like cheese.

The Walrus

Walruses on the ice

Close up with a walrus

Walruses on the shore


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