Nature verses the local grocery...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sleep is Overrated...for Walruses

Walruses can sleep for 19 hours. Sometimes they swim for up to 84 hours, without the hint of a snooze.

Jerome Siegal, director of the Center for Sleep Research at UCLA, completed a study of Walruses monitored at the Utrish Marine Station of the Russian Academy of Sciences which will publish in the journal Behavioral Brain Research. According to Discovery news, Siegel explained that when walruses slept underwater, they could hold their breath for "about 4 to 5 minutes."

"The discovery that walruses remain active for periods lasting up to 84 hours without showing behavioral signs of sleep is unprecedented," sleep specialist Niels Rattenborg said when speaking to Discovery News.

Walruses come as large as 11 feet and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Their tusks which are actually their extended upper canine teeth, grow constantly and can reach up to 40 inches. They are used to break ice, anchor themselves on ice floes while sleeping, for fighting and for assistance moving across the ice.

Sensitive whiskers about six inches long, called vibrissae, help Walruses locate food along the ocean bottom.

They enjoy clams, fish, worms, crabs, shrimp and some birds. Young whales and an occasional seal can fill out their menu.


  1. I just learned a lot about walruses that I didn't know. They are huge! But I must say, they look comfortable.

  2. I never realized the information you gave about walruses. Whew, I've slept for 11 hours, but I don't believe I could go 80 some without sleep. Nope, and I don't want to try, thank you.


  3. Hi Vivian,

    Thank you for passing through. Animals are so unique and interesting and I enjoy the research.

    Don't be a stranger!


  4. Hi Janet,

    Walruses are indeed a bit different; they give the phrase 'pushing your weight around', a more realistic tone, don't you think?

    The neat part of playing with a Nature blog is the research. It truly is limitless.

    Don't be a stranger. Thank you for visiting.



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