Giants on Ice: Gallery of Walruses

Tagging Walruses

scientists in Bering sea radio-tag walruses

(Image credit: USGS)

In July 2010, scientists traveled to the Chukchi and Bering seas to radio-tag walruses.

Walrus Whereabouts

radio-tagged walrus swims in the Arctic basin

(Image credit: USGS)

USGS scientists can follow radio-tagged walruses remotely as they move around the Arctic Basin.

Walrus Watching

scientists prepare to radio-tag walruses in the Chukchi sea

(Image credit: USGS)

Scientists prepare to radio-tag walruses in the Chukchi sea to track movements as sea ice is reduced in the region. (Photo taken June 8, 2009)

Growing Pains

female walrus and pup in Chukchi Sea

(Image credit: Sarah Sonsthagen, USGS)

Walrus calves are ashen gray to brown in color and weigh about 99 to 165 pounds (45-75 kg) at birth; within a few weeks, the calves turn reddish brown. Here, a female walrus and her pup on an ice floe in the Chukchi Sea.

Mama and Pup

walrus mom and pup sit on ice floe in Chukchi sea

(Image credit: Sarah Sonsthagen, USGS)

Female walruses can weigh up to 2,700 pounds (1,225 kilograms) and so require thick enough pack ice to support their heft. Here, a female walrus and her pup on an ice floe in the Chukchi Sea in June 2010.

Walrus Haul-Out

tens of thousands of walruses gather on Alaskan shores as sea ice melts

(Image credit: USGS)

Walruses gathered on Alaskan shores of the Chukchi Sea by the tens of thousands in late August and September of 2010 after the last of the sea ice dissipated.

Two Walrus Haul Outs

Walruses Haul Out on the Shore of Alaska

(Image credit: Blaine Thorn (National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Two large walrus haul-outs, estimated to contain 8,000 animals total, were sighted on Aug. 17, 2011. The haul-outs were located slightly north of Alaska, and separated from one another by a very short distance.

Large and in Charge

walruses rest on an ice floe in Chukchi sea

(Image credit: Sarah Sonsthagen, USGS)

Walruses are so huge their only natural predators are the orca (killer whale) and the polar bear.

Tooth Walk

close-up of walrus in Chukchi sea

(Image credit: Sarah Sonsthagen, USGS)

Walruses use their tusks to haul themselves out of the water. Their scientific name Odobenus baino comes from Greek words meaning "tooth walk." Here a close-up of a walrus in the Chukchi Sea.

Summer Ice

walruses rest on an ice floe in Chukchi sea

(Image credit: USGS)

Normally, the walruses, particularly females with calves, rest on the drifting sea ice between food dives during the summer. Here the animals rest on an ice floe in the Chukchi sea in July 2010.

Resting on Ice

walruses rest on an ice floe in Chukchi sea

(Image credit: USGS)

Walruses feed on mollusks, clams and other animals they retrieve by diving from floating ice to the seafloor. Here, the giants are resting on an ice floe in the Chukchi sea.