Walrus Tusks: How Long Do They Really Get?

Odobenus rosmarus, commonly known as the walrus, is a commonly recognized animal. This gregarious beast, with its enormous physique and large ivory tusks, is adored by many. This marine animal lives close to the Arctic Circle in the Northern Pacific and Northern Atlantic Oceans. It is distinguished by its ivory tusks, huge, thick body, and sensitive whiskers. The walrus’s tusks will be the main topic of this article. We’ll reveal their maximum size, their evolutionary history, and anything else you need to know about this amazing body part. Now let’s get started!

How Big Does a Walrus Get?

We should first comprehend how enormous walruses are as animals in general before learning how big their tusks get. The walrus is not that much smaller than the largest mammals, even though it may not be as big as an elephant or a blue whale. These big creatures have flat flippers, round heads, and wrinkled brown skin.

These creatures have a reason for being so large, despite the fact that they appear strange on land. Their thick coating of blubber contributes to some of their heft. This coating of blubber protects walruses from the chilly water conditions in which they live. They can also store energy in that blubber for times when food is in little supply.

The Atlantic walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) and the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) are the two species of walrus. Both grow to be fairly enormous. Male Atlantic walrus weights approximately 2,000 pounds, while females weigh between 800 and 1,230 pounds on average. With an average weight of 4,400 pounds, male Pacific walruses are considerably bigger than females, weighing between 1,800 and 3,700 pounds.

It makes natural that this species would have enormous tusks given how big of a mammal it is, but how big do they actually get?

How Big Does a Walrus’s Tusks Get?

Now that you know how large this species can get, let’s talk about how big its amazing tusks are. Walruses have tusks on both sexes, however the males often have longer, straighter tusks than the females. In reality, a walrus’s tusks are its teeth! The two canine teeth that make up a walrus’s tusks are among its usual 18 teeth.The tusks of male walruses can reach a length of 39 inches, while those of female walruses can reach a length of 31.5 inches. A walrus tusk typically weighs between eleven and fifteen pounds.

Though they are teeth, eating is not their main purpose. The tusks are mostly used to assert authority in social situations. These tusks also help walruses hoist their bodies onto ice or rocky shorelines by helping them pull their bodies out of the sea. During the breeding season, the walrus tusks may also be employed in combat or defensive maneuvers. Greater tusk size indicates dominance over lesser tusk size in walruses. Subsequently, the walruses with comparable tusk sizes engage in combat; they may brandish their tusks or poke their adversary with them.

Elephant vs Walrus Tusks: What Is The Difference?

The elephant is another animal whose tusks are well-known. They are not the same animal as walruses, however they do share certain tusk characteristics. The elephant’s tusks are its teeth, just like the walrus’s. Elephant tusks are actually the upper second incisors of the elephant, which developed into tusks throughout time. Furthermore, like the tusks of some male walruses, elephant tusks grow throughout their lives.

Elephants use their tusks to search for food, whereas walruses do not. They dig for food and water using their tusks, and they also use them to pull heavy objects and protect themselves. The tusks of both elephants and walruses are composed of ivory, and sadly, hunters who kill these creatures for their tusks cause suffering to both species. But although walrus and other marine mammals have been ethically hunted by Native Americans in Alaska, elephant poaching has become so bad that it is now forbidden to hunt and kill elephants for their ivory tusks.

Elephant females have smaller tusks than males, just like walruses do. But compared to walrus tusks, elephant tusks are noticeably heavier and bigger. The weight of an adult male tusk ranges from 110 to 175 pounds, whereas the weight of an adult female tusk is 40 to 44 pounds. Their tusks develop continuously, gaining approximately 6.7 inches a year. Elephant tusks can grow up to 7.7 feet in length.

How Tusks Evolved

Although many animals have tusks, not many people are aware of their history or the process by which these creatures acquired them. The fact that they are all mammals is one thing in common with all tusked creatures. As of right now, no known fish, birds, or reptiles possess tusks. According to curator Ken Angielczyk of the Field Museum in Chicago, “dicynodonts” are animals that existed before contemporary mammals and possessed the earliest tusks.

These creatures existed between 270 and 201 million years ago, and their sizes varied from rats to elephants. These creatures resembled reptiles more than modern mammals, despite their appearance. A dicynodont is a person who has “two canine teeth.” Researchers did agree that a tooth had to be comprised of dentine, extend outside the mouth, and continue developing throughout the animal’s life in order to be classified as a tusk.

These scientists also found that in order for these animals to evolve into modern species with tusks, they had to acquire certain traits. These adaptations include lower rates of tooth replacement and flexible ligament attachments between the tooth and jaw. These findings contribute to our understanding of the genesis of tusks and the similarities among these tusked mammals, even though more research in this topic is still needed, particularly to determine the number of times tusks have evolved and why.

Fun Facts About Walruses

A walrus can have 400–700 whiskers on its body.
They are able to whistle.
The average walrus’s tusk grows for fifteen years, while some males may have longer growth spurts.
The polar bear and the orca are the only two natural predators of walruses.
A walrus uses its foreflippers to maneuver while swimming.
When a baby walrus is six months old, its tusks erupt from its gums; it does not have tusks at birth.