By: Kira Krall
A walrus affectionately nicknamed “Wally” is making waves due to a surprise March appearance
in Scotland. Walruses usually frequent arctic latitudes where the air stays well below 41°F. It’s
been seen all around the northern Scotland coast that’s well outside of the 41 degree limit. From
where it was last seen in Norway to its first landing place in Scotland, it made almost a 200 mile
Walruses are typically bottom feeders that look for crustaceans, worms, and mollusks like clams.
They’re equipped with a behavioral adaptation that uncovers treats buried in the sea floor.
Hunting walruses have been seen squirting jets of water out of their mouths, displacing
invertebrates that have buried into the sediment. The large, tusked pinnipeds migrate south in the
fall to avoid the dangerous freeze that takes over the arctic every year and to take advantage of
the feeding opportunities. They swim, drift in ocean currents, or ride on ice floes like an oceanic
tram until they get to their stop.
Even though walruses migrate away from the arctic at the end of summer, it’s unusual to see a
walrus this far south. Wally could have hitched a ride on an ice floe, only to be taken far out of
its usual range. This is the first walrus sighting in Scotland since 1954. Agencies around the
Scotland coast are keeping an eye on Wally’s condition to make sure he’s getting the recommend
amount of walrus food (3-6% of their body weight!).
In total, Wally has swum 600 miles on his tour de Scotland since its journey from Norway. Some
sources predict that it won’t be in these southern waters for long. Keep an eye out for news on
where Wally ends up next!