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The Wonderful Walrus

April 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 144

When travellers arrive on their polar holidays expecting to see a myriad different creatures, one of the animals that inevitably makes the 'top three' list is the Walrus - and though it may seem hard to believe without seeing these impressive animals in the flesh, there are plenty of reasons for such high regard. The Walrus is a fascinating creature in its appearance, habits, and even in the way it became an integral force in the mythology and culture of the surrounding communities, who hunted the walrus for its meat, fat, tusks, and bone. Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of these animals will be well rewarded - after all, with their size, they're pretty hard to miss!

Tough Tusks

Undoubtedly one of the most fascinating features you'll note about the Walrus during your polar holidays is the giant creatures' tusks. Believe it or not, these elongated canines can reach lengths of up to one metre in both males and females - even though you might not be able to get close enough to measure them from tip to gum! The tusks are generally larger among males, where they're used for fighting and dominance displays. No matter the gender of Walrus, though, their tusks come in useful in their everyday life - such as to help make holes in ice, or to aid in dragging prey out from the sea and onto a solid surface.

Predators and Prey

Due to its great bulk and intimidating tusks, the Walrus enjoys a life of relative safety from predators. It only needs to worry about two creatures hungry for a Walrus snack - the Orca, and the Polar Bear. Luckily, however, the Walrus isn't a large part of either predator's diet, meaning there are always plenty around to see on your polar holidays.

Myth and Legend

The Walrus features prominently in the religion and folklore of many Arctic communities. In one version of the folktale 'Myth of the Raven' (where Raven recovers the stolen sun and moon from a spirit by seducing his daughter), the father hurls the daughter from a high cliff in retribution, and as she plummets into the water she transformed into the original Walrus. According to legend, the tusks were originally formed from the tears of the weeping girl. However, the Walrus has also featured in more modern stories across the world - those two distinctive tusks making them an instantly recognizable creature, whether on polar holidays or in the pages of an illustrated children's book. One of the greatest examples is from Lewis Carrol's poem, 'The Walrus and the Carpenter', that appeared in his seminal 'Through the Looking-Glass', in 1871.

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you're looking for polar holidays, Naturetrek specialise in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek bring over 25 years of experience to polar holidays and other spectacular regions on Earth.

Source: EzineArticles
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