Communication Differences In Male Vs Female Walruses

9 min read

There are no noticeable differences in communication between male and female walruses. Walruses use a combination of various vocalizations, body postures, and movements to communicate with one another. These communication methods are essential for different aspects of their social behavior, such as maintaining group cohesion, establishing dominance, and attracting mates. While individuals may exhibit some variations in their communication styles, these differences are not generally attributed to gender but rather to individual characteristics and social dynamics within the group. Nonetheless, further research is needed to fully understand the intricacies of walrus communication and any potential specific differences between males and females.

Communication Signals

Communication signals in walruses can differ between males and females. Male walruses use a variety of signals to establish their dominance and attract mates, including vocalizations, body postures, and tusk displays. Vocalizations in male walruses consist of roars, bellows, and clicks, which are used to convey information about their size, strength, and reproductive status. These vocalizations can travel long distances underwater and are likely used to signal their presence and establish territory.

Female walruses, on the other hand, tend to have a more limited range of communication signals compared to males. They primarily use vocalizations to communicate with their young, especially during nursing and when trying to keep track of each other in a crowded group. Female walruses also have specialized vocalizations, known as “calls,” which they use to communicate their availability for mating to nearby males.

Differences in communication signals between male and female walruses may be attributed to their different roles in reproductive activities. Male walruses need to compete for mates and assert their dominance, whereas females focus on nurturing and protecting their offspring. These communication signals play a crucial role in facilitating successful reproduction and maintaining social structure within walrus populations.

Vocalizations And Sounds

Male and female walruses communicate through vocalizations and sounds, with some differences between the sexes. Male walruses produce a variety of calls, including bell-like vocalizations and loud snorts, as a means of attracting females and establishing their dominance. These vocalizations are often deep and can be heard over long distances underwater.

In contrast, female walruses produce shorter and softer sounds, such as chirps and whistles, that are used for mother-calf communication and during social interactions. These sounds are typically used to maintain contact with their calves or to convey specific messages to other walruses in their group.

Research has suggested that the differences in vocalization between male and female walruses may be related to their social roles and reproductive strategies. Males engage in vocal displays to attract females and compete with other males, while females rely more on close-range vocalizations for communication within their social group.


It is important to note that further studies are needed to fully understand the complexities of walrus communication, including potential individual variations and the specific meanings behind different vocalizations. Nonetheless, vocalizations and sounds play a crucial role in the communication of male and female walruses, contributing to their social interactions and reproductive success.

Body Language And Postures

Body language and postures play a crucial role in the communication of walruses. While there are no specific studies on the differences in communication between male and female walruses, it is known that body language and postures are used by both genders to convey various messages.

Walruses use their bodies to express dominance, submission, aggression, and friendliness. For instance, a dominant walrus may display an upright posture, puff up its chest, and position its tusks forward to assert its dominance. In contrast, a submissive walrus may adopt a hunched posture, lower its head, and avert its gaze to indicate submission.

Another important aspect of body language in walruses is the use of their flippers. They use their flippers to make various gestures, such as slapping them against their bodies or the water. These gestures can convey different intentions, such as warnings, territorial claims, or attracting mates.


While there may be subtle variations in body language and postures between male and female walruses, the overall principles and behaviors are likely to be similar. It is important to note that further research is necessary to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the specific differences, if any, in the communication patterns between male and female walruses.

Chemical Signaling And Pheromones

Chemical signaling and pheromones play an important role in communication among animals, including walruses. These chemical signals are released by individuals and can be detected by others, providing information about various aspects of their behavior and physiology.

In the case of male and female walruses, there are indeed differences in communication using chemical signals. Male walruses, known as bulls, produce distinctive pheromones that serve as a means of attracting and signaling their reproductive status to potential mates, as well as to assert their dominance over other males. These pheromones are released through various scent glands, such as the axillary glands found in the armpits.

Female walruses, or cows, also produce their own pheromones, but these are more related to reproductive behavior and mating choices. It is believed that the pheromones released by female walruses can indicate their receptivity to mating and may help in attracting males for breeding purposes.

Overall, chemical signaling and pheromones play an important role in the communication between male and female walruses. These chemical signals help individuals to locate potential mates, convey reproductive status, and facilitate successful mating. Further research is needed to fully understand the specific pheromones involved and their exact functions in walrus communication.

Environmental Influences On Communication

There are environmental influences on communication in male and female walruses. The differences in communication between the two genders can be attributed to various factors.


One environmental influence is the seasonal variation in habitat. Male walruses tend to inhabit different areas than female walruses during certain times of the year. This physical segregation may result in differences in their communication patterns. For instance, males often gather in large groups on ice floes for mating and territorial displays, while females and their young are more likely to reside in more stable pack ice areas. This spatial separation may affect how they communicate and interact with each other.

Another environmental factor is the presence of sea ice. Walruses rely on sea ice as a platform for various behaviors, including breeding and resting. However, with climate change and the decline in sea ice extent, walrus populations have been faced with significant habitat loss. This loss of suitable habitat can directly impact their communication, as their ability to visually and acoustically communicate across the ice is reduced. Consequently, male and female walruses may have to modify their communication strategies to adapt to changing ice conditions.

Furthermore, the availability of food resources can also influence walrus communication. Female walruses primarily feed on benthic organisms, while male walruses feed on a wider range of prey, including fish. Differences in foraging strategies, prey selection, and feeding locations can all potentially impact how they communicate with one another. For example, males competing for a limited food supply may engage in vocalizations or physical displays to establish dominance and attract mates.

Differences In Developmental Patterns

Differences in developmental patterns may exist in the communication behavior between male and female walruses. Research suggests that male walruses undergo a more complex and prolonged development of their vocal communication capabilities compared to females. This difference in developmental patterns could contribute to differences in the communication styles exhibited by male and female walruses.


Male walruses, particularly during their breeding season, engage in elaborate vocal displays to attract females and establish dominance over other males. These displays include diverse vocalizations such as bell-like calls, roars, and whistles. It is believed that male walruses gradually develop these vocalizations over time, with their repertoire expanding as they mature. This suggests that the communication skills of male walruses continue to develop as they reach sexual maturity.

On the other hand, female walruses may have a more limited vocal repertoire that is less complex compared to males. While both male and female walruses produce sounds for social communication and coordination, female vocalizations appear to be less diverse and less pronounced. This could be due to differences in the developmental patterns of their communication abilities.

These developmental differences in communication patterns between male and female walruses may reflect the different roles and strategies associated with reproduction and social interaction. Further research is needed to fully understand the extent and implications of these differences in communication between male and female walruses.


Final Observations

In conclusion, the study conducted on the communication patterns of male and female walruses provides valuable insights into their distinct vocalizations and behaviors. The findings suggest that male walruses tend to produce loud, long-range calls known as “roars” during mating seasons, which are aimed at attracting females and asserting dominance over other males. On the other hand, female walruses are observed to produce softer, short-range vocalizations primarily as a means of maintaining contact with their calves and forming social bonds within their groups.

Moreover, the research indicates that both male and female walruses rely on non-vocal communication, such as body postures and movements, to convey various messages and coordinate group activities. These visual cues play a crucial role in signaling threats, indicating social hierarchies, and facilitating mating interactions. Additionally, while male walruses engage in more frequent aggressive displays and vocal contests, female walruses demonstrate a higher degree of cooperation and cohesive group behaviors.

Overall, this investigation sheds light on the distinct communication strategies employed by male and female walruses, highlighting how evolutionary factors and social dynamics shape their unique vocalizations and non-vocal interactions. Further research in this area can provide valuable insights into the communication patterns of walruses, contributing to a better understanding of their social structure, ecological adaptations, and conservation management efforts.

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