- Walruses are among the most gregarious of animals. They exhibit social behavior all year and congregate by the hundreds. Walruses haul out in herds; they seldom haul out alone.
Walruses are among the most gregarious of animals but social
dominance is well established in herds and subgroups.
- Males and females form separate herds.
- Social dominance is well established in herds and subgroups. Dominance in herds is established by tusk length, body size, and aggressiveness. The largest walruses with the longest tusks are the most aggressive and generate threat displays most often. Smaller walruses, and those with smaller or broken tusks, have a lower social ranking.
- Walruses use their tusks in dominance displays and as weapons.
- A male will fight if another male intrudes upon him during a courtship display. These fights often result in physical injury. The frequent scars and lacerations seen on the necks and shoulders of adult males after the breeding season are evidence of tusking.
- Individuals frequently compete for the most favorable haul-out sites.
- Males produce bell-like sounds and other vocalizations as part of a courtship display.
- Walruses haul out on ice or land to rest and care for their young. They use their tusks to help them haul out.