What is the Female Walrus Called?


When it comes to marine mammals, walruses are quite fascinating creatures. They are known for their impressive tusks, large size, and distinct appearance. However, have you ever wondered what the female walrus is called? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and delve into various subtopics to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of walruses and their intriguing characteristics.

The Female Walrus: A Cow

In the animal kingdom, it is common for each species to have specific names for males, females, and their young. Similarly, the female walrus is known as a cow. This term is widely used in the zoological community and is derived from the fact that female walruses are the reproductive counterparts to the male walruses, known as bulls.

Physical Characteristics of Female Walruses

Female walruses, or cows, share many physical characteristics with their male counterparts. However, there are certain differences that distinguish them. Here are some key physical characteristics of female walruses:

  1. Size: Female walruses are generally smaller in size compared to males. They typically weigh between 1,200 to 1,700 kilograms (2,600 to 3,700 pounds) and measure around 2.5 to 3.5 meters (8 to 11.5 feet) in length.
  2. Tusks: While both male and female walruses possess prominent tusks, the tusks of females are usually shorter and more slender. These tusks serve various purposes, such as helping them climb onto ice floes and defending against predators.
  3. Appearance: Female walruses have a distinctive appearance with a large, robust body, wrinkled skin, and a thick layer of blubber. They also have bristly whiskers, known as vibrissae, which aid in locating food in the water.

Reproduction and Life Cycle of Female Walruses

The reproductive cycle of female walruses is an essential aspect of their life history. Understanding their reproductive behavior and the life cycle of these magnificent creatures provides invaluable insights into their conservation and management. Here are some key points about the reproduction and life cycle of female walruses:

  1. Mating: Female walruses reach sexual maturity around the age of 6 to 10 years. During the breeding season, which typically occurs in late winter or early spring, males compete for access to females. Dominant bulls establish territories and mate with multiple females.
  2. Gestation and Birth: After successful mating, a female walrus undergoes a gestation period of approximately 15 to 16 months. This extended gestation period is one of the longest among marine mammals. Calving usually takes place in the spring, with a single calf being born.
  3. Maternal Care: Female walruses exhibit strong maternal instincts and provide dedicated care to their young. The calf remains close to its mother, relying on her for nourishment and protection. The bond between a mother walrus and her calf is crucial for the survival of the newborn.
  4. Longevity: Female walruses can live for several decades. With proper environmental conditions and minimal threats, some individuals have been known to live up to 40 years or more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How do female walruses communicate?

Female walruses, like their male counterparts, produce various vocalizations to communicate with each other. These vocalizations include growls, roars, bellows, and clicks. These sounds are used for social interactions, mating rituals, and mother-calf communication.

Q2: Do female walruses have tusks?

Yes, female walruses do have tusks, although they are generally shorter and more slender compared to those of male walruses. These tusks play a role in various activities such as foraging, defense, and climbing onto ice floes.

Q3: How many young do female walruses have at once?

Female walruses typically give birth to a single calf at a time. The birth usually takes place in the spring after a prolonged gestation period of about 15 to 16 months.

Q4: Are female walruses social animals?

Yes, female walruses are social animals. They often form large social groups, known as herds or haulouts, consisting of both males and females. These gatherings provide opportunities for social interactions, mating, and raising their young.

Q5: What is the conservation status of female walruses?

Female walruses, along with the entire walrus population, face various conservation challenges. Climate change, loss of sea ice habitat, and hunting activities have impacted their numbers. They are currently classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Q6: How can we contribute to the conservation of female walruses?

Conservation efforts play a crucial role in protecting female walruses and their habitats. Supporting organizations dedicated to marine conservation, reducing carbon emissions to mitigate climate change, and promoting sustainable practices are some ways individuals can contribute to their conservation.


In conclusion, the female walrus is called a cow. These majestic creatures possess unique physical characteristics and play a vital role in the reproduction and survival of their species. Understanding the life cycle and behaviors of female walruses is crucial for their conservation. By raising awareness and taking action to protect their habitats, we can contribute to the preservation of these remarkable marine mammals for future generations.

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