Walruses – Unexpectedly skilled Heavyweights
One characteristic feature of the walrus is the two enormous teeth in the upper jaw stretching down well below the lower jaw; these are terrifying weapons. Another feature is their tremendous weight – a male can weigh up to 1500 kg. Part of their body mass is made up of the protective layer of fat several centimetres thick all over the body under the leathery skin. This is needed because these large-scale seals live in the Polar Seas on the edge of the pack-ice.
Observing walruses in their own habitat (both underwater and on land) is not at all easy. In the first place, it is the Arctic weather conditions that can scupper observations most effectively. This is a problem faced daily by Australian biologist and walrus specialist Jason Roberts, who has lived on Spitsbergen for many years and who has spent his time dedicated to studying the private lives of the walruses and their families.