Odobenidae

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Odobenidae (walruses; order Carnivora, suborder Pinnipedia (or Caniformia) A monospecific family (Odobenus rosmarus) of marine carnivores known since the Miocene and related to the Otariidae. There are no external ears or tail and the hind limbs are brought forward beneath the body when the animal is on land. The upper canines form large tusks in both sexes but the remaining teeth are small and often lost, leaving only the heavy, peg-like molars for crushing. Walruses feed exclusively on shellfish. They are found around the margins of the Arctic Ocean, in shallow waters and on ice floes.