Walrus PNG Transparent Images

Submitted by on Nov 29, 2021

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The walrus is a huge flippered marine mammal with a patchy distribution in the Arctic Ocean and subarctic waters of the Northern Hemisphere around the North Pole. In the family Odobenidae and genus Odobenus, the walrus is the sole surviving species. The Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus), which resides in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific walrus (O. r. divergens), which dwells in the Pacific Ocean, are two subspecies of this species.

Adult walruses are distinguished by their huge tusks and whiskers, as well as their size: adult males in the Pacific may weigh more than 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds) and are only surpassed in size by two species of elephant seals among pinnipeds. Walruses spend much of their time on the sea ice seeking for benthic bivalve mollusks to feed, and they reside largely in shallow seas above the continental shelf. Walruses are sociable creatures with a long lifespan, and they are regarded a “keystone species” in the Arctic marine environment.

Many indigenous Arctic peoples have hunted the walrus for its meat, fat, skin, tusks, and bone, and the walrus has played a significant part in their societies. Walruses were regularly hunted and slaughtered for their blubber, walrus ivory, and flesh during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Walrus populations have been quickly declining over the Arctic. Although populations of Atlantic and Laptev walruses have recovered significantly since then, they remain dispersed and at low levels compared to before human intervention.


The term walrus comes from a Germanic language, and it has been assigned mostly to the Dutch or Old Norse languages. The first component is supposed to be derived from an Old Norse term such as valr (“whale”), while the second portion is thought to be derived from the Old Norse word hross (“horse”). The Old Norse name hrossvalr, which means “horse-whale,” is considered to have been handed down inverted to both Dutch and northern German languages as walros and Walross. Another hypothesis is that it is derived from the Dutch words wal “shore” and reus “giant.”

Rosmarus is a Scandinavian species name. The walrus is called “rosmhvalr” in Iceland and “rostungr” in Greenland in the Norwegian book Konungsskuggsja, which is assumed to date from approximately AD 1240. (walruses were by now extinct in Iceland and Norway, while the word evolved in Greenland). Several place names in Iceland, Greenland, and Norway may have originated from walrus breeding grounds: Hvalfjord, Hvallatrar, and Hvalsnes, to mention a few.

The old English word for walrus, morse, is assumed to have originated in Slavic languages, which took it through Finno-Ugric languages, and eventually (according to Ante Aikio) from a Northern European Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate language. In Russian, моp (mor) is used; in Finnish, mursu is used; in Northern Saami, mora is used; and in French, morse is used. The walrus was initially referred to as the ros marus, possibly a Latinization of mor, by Olaus Magnus, who portrayed it in the Carta Marina in 1539, and this was accepted by Linnaeus in his binomial nomenclature.

The walrus’s reputation as a “terrible creature” is said to have stemmed from a fortuitous resemblance between morse and the Latin word morsus (“a bite”).

Odobenus is derived from the Greek words odous (tooth) and baino (walk), and is based on observations of walruses using their tusks to drag themselves out of the water. Their tusks are referred to as divergens in Latin, which means “turning apart.”

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