Walrus, Arctic, up to 3.5 m (11.5 ft) long. The walrus is a large, slow-swimming Arctic mammal with huge tusks. Along with seals, sea lions and fur seals, it is a member of the pinniped group. Its massive body is covered with thick, tough skin. Underneath, there is a layer of fat, called blubber, that protects the animal from the cold. The walrus eats clams (bivalve molluscs), using its tusks to prise them off rocks and sucking the the meat out of the shells. It will also eat shrimp, crabs and other molluscs.
Like a sea lion, the walrus can turn its rear flippers forwards and walk on all fours. It swims more like a seal, using body movements rather than its flippers to push itself through the water. Also, like seals, it does not have external ears.
To find food, the walrus drifts along the seabed using its sensitive, bristly whiskers to feel its way. Its tusks are used to prise shellfish off rocks, to haul the animal's huge body out of the water and to knock breathing holes into the sea ice from below.
The walrus's scientific name, Odobenus rosmarus, means "tooth-walking seahorse".
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