This endangered arctic sea mammal lives 40 years and weighs up to 1400 kilograms. They are found on the ice flows north of the Arctic Circle, in herds of the hundreds.
They are sociable and prone to loud bellowing and snorting. Be aware – they are very aggressive during the mating season from December through to March.
Walruses use their tusks to pull themselves from the water and to make breathing holes in the ice. Both males and females have tusks, which are up to 1 metre in length and continue to grow throughout their lives. The males also use their tusks as a weapon when fighting for territory and protecting their harem of females.
One of their favourite meals is the shellfish which are found on the ocean floor. Walruses will use their extremely sensitive whiskers to detect food in deep dark waters under the ice. Their thick blubber is one of the adaptations that allow them to live comfortably in the extremes of the Arctic. They can also slow their heartbeats to withstand the frigid water temperatures.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, they were hunted to near extinction. Currently, only the First Nations peoples are allowed to hunt walruses.
The “Az-I-Wu-Gum-Ki-Mukh’Ti? is a bizarre and frightening monster from the traditions of the Inuit people of Greenland. It resembles a giant walrus with the head and front legs of a dog, gleaming black scales, and a huge fish’s tail. One blow from this tail would kill a camper. The “Az-I-Wu-Gum-Ki-Mukh’Ti? was much feared among the Inuit. The 19th-century explorer E. W. Nelson heard much of this creature from the Inuit people and dubbed it “walrus-dog.
If you are attacked by an “Az-I-Wu-Gum-Ki-Mukh’Ti? consider the following:
- Take a picture – there are no pictures,
- Give it a “shellfish? flavoured dog biscuit,
- Get to shore ASAP,
- Run really-really-fast – They are slow when out of the water.