Walruses are large marine mammals that primarily feed on benthic organisms such as clams, mussels, and other mollusks. They also consume a variety of fish species including cod, salmon, halibut and flatfish.
A walrus eats up to 5-6% of its body weight in food each day, which can equate to over 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of clams, mussels, and other shellfish. Commonly they eat twice a day.
They typically hunt for their prey by using sensitive vibrissae (whiskers) to detect movement in the water column or along the seafloor. They may also use their tusks to dig up food from within sediment or ice shelves.
What do walruses eat?
The walrus is an important part of the Arctic marine ecosystem, and its food chain consists of a variety of species. They feed on organisms such as clams, crabs, worms, fish and mollusks which they locate with their sensitive whiskers.
Walruses are carnivores, therefore, they can commonly be seen eating other animals to survive. They are known to supplement their diet with sea cucumbers and other invertebrates found along the seafloor.
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Additionally, they occasionally hunt seals or scavenge carcasses from shoreline areas in search of food sources during periods when prey is scarce. Preferably, they swallow their food rather than chewing it.
How much food does a walrus Eat?
An adult walrus can eat up to 5-6% of their body weight every day. These majestic creatures can consume 3000 to 6000 clams in a single meal. Usually, they eat twice a day, however, the routine can change depending on the time and season of the year.
For instance; in summer and fall, they eat more and spend more time searching for food. On the other hand, they tend to eat less during the spring season. Additionally, mating/breeding season also affects the food intake of male walruses as it surprisingly decreases.
However, the eating routine for female walruses usually remains the same or probably decreases for a short period of time during estrus (a period of sexual receptivity). Later, pregnant female walruses increase food intake upto 40%.
Are there any particular species of clams or mussels that walruses prefer?
Walruses tend to feed on bivalve mollusks, including species such as Arctic surf clams, soft-shell clams and blue mussels.
Do walruses only feed on benthic organisms?
While benthic organisms are the primary component of a walrus’ diet, they may also feed on fish and squid, particularly during the summer months when these prey are more abundant.
Do walruses eat penguins?
No, walruses do not eat penguins. Because, they are two different species who have very different diets from each other and this is why they will never encounter each other in their natural habitat.
Do walruses eat fish?
Yes, walruses do eat fish but only when it is available as they are large marine mammals that primarily feed on bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as clams and crabs.
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How do walruses feed on benthic organisms? – How do walruses hunt?
Walruses typically hunt for their prey by using sensitive vibrissae (whiskers) to detect movement in the water column or along the seafloor. They may also use their tusks to drag its prey through sediment. They are usually observed to rapidly wave their foreflipper to uncover the prey in ice shelves and sediments.
What is the Walrus’s food chain?
Since walrus is an important part of the Arctic marine ecosystem, its food chain consists of a variety of species. Walruses feed on organisms such as clams, crabs, worms, fish and mollusks which they locate with their sensitive whiskers.
In turn walruses are preyed upon by polar bears and killer whales who hunt them for their blubber or meat.