The Odobenus rosmarus Walrus

The Odobenus rosmarus Walrus 5 is a large species of seal that inhabits shallow arctic waters in the northern hemisphere. Large bull males can grow to 3.5 m long and weight up to 1,600 kg; females reach about two thirds the size of males.

The defining feature of both males and females are the enormous tusks, which are actually enlarged upper canines.

The tusks have a variety of uses, although for the most part they are used in self defence, and by males when posturing to establish dominance hierarchies. However, if display alone is not effective, males will use their tusk to strike and injure their opponent. Tusks are also used for breaking through ice and maintaining breathing holes, to hang from ice floes while the animal rests in the water, and to help the walrus drag its heavy body out of the water onto the ice. The tusks continue to grow through life; in males, tusks can grow to 100 cm long, and in females, 60 cm. Do you think our museum specimen is a male or female?