A. Sound Production.
1. Walruses have vocal cords.
2. Walruses produce sounds both above and below water.
3. Walruses are among the most vocal of the pinnipeds. They produce growls, grunts, barks, soft whistles, rasps, and clicks.
4. Male walruses produce bell-like sounds below water. These sounds are not produced by the vocal cords but originate from air sacs, which extend from the pharynx.
5. Calves bellow if disturbed.
6. Adults engaged in dominance conflicts may snort, cough, or roar.
B. Display Behavior.
1. Walruses communicate through auditory and visual displays.
2. During courtship, males display visually and vocally from the water. Stereotyped sequences of sounds occur both above and below water. Below-water sounds include clicks or knocks, bell-like sounds, and taps. Above-water sounds include teeth-clacking and whistles.
3. Males engage in tusk-threat displays to establish dominance.
C. Other Communication.
1. Walruses communicate through sound, sight, touch, and smell.
2. Tactual communication occurs through body contact.
a. Walruses haul out in herds in close contact with one another.
b. A mother shelters her calf under her chest between her foreflippers. A calf often rides on its mother's back in the water.
c. Adults engaged in dominance conflicts may strike each other with their tusks.
d. Courtship displays continue until a female physically contacts a displaying male in the water.
Copyright 1994 by Sea World, Inc.
©2002 Busch Entertainment Corporation.