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Walruses in Svalbard

Walruses in Svalbard

Every couch potato's spirit animal

The walruses of Svalbard

Svalbard with its cool climate may not be a destination that comes to mind when people feel like going on vacation to spend some time sunbathing on a nice beach and going for a swim in the ocean. Nevertheless, the islands throughout Svalbard have their fair share of beach guests that are dead set on enjoying the sun from the best place on the beach.

Say hello to the walrus!

The walrus is among the various species of animals you may come across in Svalbard’s wilderness, and they can be found here all throughout the year.
They often spend time resting on ice floes, but in the summer and autumn one may also come across chilled out walrus colonies on beaches, small islets, or skerries. Walruses are however a bit picky when it comes to their resting spots, so they are known to stick to specific resting spots where the conditions are good for both their access to food and nice places to rest.

Being extremely social animals, they are usually seen in packs. After having been out in the sea to feed they’ll group up on ice floes or on land to have a rest together, and it’s not uncommon for them to be bunched up closely or even be laying on top of each other when relaxing!

An adult male is around 3,5 metres long and weighs about 1500kg, while the females grow to around 2,5 metres in length and can weigh about 900kg. One can simply say that walruses are quite bulky creatures, and if you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse of a large colony it’s truly a mighty experience of nature to see them all bunched up.

Although seemingly relaxed one should be aware that walruses can be very sensitive to boats or people being too close for comfort. Dangerous situations can occur if one gets too close and startles these animals. It’s therefore very important to know how to properly behave around walruses, and we therefore strongly recommend travelling on organised tours with local guides in Svalbard if you want to observe them safely. Local guides have the training and knowledge to responsibly and safely be able to view walruses when out in the field.

Local activity providers in Longyearbyen like Better Moments and Svalbard Adventures offer walrus safaris that are run as full day trips out of Longyearbyen.
One can also be lucky to spot walruses while out on regular boat trips in Svalbard.

Read and learn more about walruses on The Norwegian Polar Institute’s website here.

Visit Svalbard Sustainable Destination Eco-Lighthouse

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