Climate change and breeding
Walrus are a marine mammal. However, depending on the season, they spend significant amounts of time on land or ice floes. This “hauling-out” behaviour happens at specific places during the summer, usually on small rocky islands. Females haul out on ice floes to give birth and raise their young.
During the winter, walrus seek places with open waters so that they are able to feed on the ocean bottom and to haul out on sea ice to rest. As the global climate changes, the amount of sea ice is reduced. Less sea ice would have an impact on walrus breeding success.
When walrus are hauled out on rocky shores during the summer, the males often fight one another for space to rest. They first use threatening displays before using their tusks as weapons to inflict damage and establish dominance.
Walrus whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are highly-sensitive organs containing nerves and blood used to detect food on the muddy ocean floor. Walrus feed by sucking clams into their mouth, crushing and ejecting the shells, and swallowing the body of the clam whole.