Thor the Walrus

In 2021, the UK was visited by two walruses. The first was Wally who went on a grand tour of Europe and the UK before returning home. (You can read about his journey here).

 

The second was gven the name Freya - she was tragically euthanised by the Norwegian authorities due to fears that the public were getting too close to her.

 

 

THOR THE WALRUS

 

Thor is a young male walrus - around three years old experts believe and he weighs about three-quarters of a tonne (around the weight of Harley Davidson motorbike). This makes him heavier than Wally who visited the UK in 2021.

 

Experts have looked at Thor from a safe distance and have determined that he looks healthy and uninjured.

 

 

 

 

Walruses like Thor are usually to be found in the Arctic, places such as Greenland, and rarely venture as far south as Ireland and England, not least because they prefer colder seas.


THE FIRST SIGHTING

 

It is thought that Thor was first sighted in Europe in Petten in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands on November 6th 2021. He was then seen at 8.45am on November 13th on Neeltje Jans island, a storm barrier in Zeeland.

 

He was then spotted, on November 15th, in Westkapelle near the Belgian border heading west. This is the first recorded visit of a walrus to the Netherlands since 1977.

 

(The Dutch for walrus is walrus which is handy).

 

 

A VISIT TO FRANCE

 

On the 18th November, Thor was seen in Brittany, in France. And in Dieppe on the 19th November while a Herring fair was going on. He was seen again in Dieppe

on 2nd December. It is perhaps no coincidence

that Dieppe is known for its scallops.

 

(The French for walrus is morse)

 

 

ARRIVING IN THE UK

 

On December 11th, Thor arrived on a beach near Southampton. He rested a while in Pagham Harbour, Calshot. He then returned to Dieppe, being spotted on  December 15th at 6am on the Quai de la Marne.

 

On the evening of December 30th, he had crossed to the east coast of England and rested for some time in Scarborough. Worried about disturbing him, the town cancelled their New Year's Eve fireworks! A very lovely gesture to protect our visitor. Thor left the harbour during the evening of New Year's Eve.

 

 

HEADING HOME?

 

On Monday January 2nd he arrived in Blyth , Northumberland at around lunchtime and rested on a pontoon in the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club. He was seen leaving at 6.45am on Tuesday morning.

 

As I write (4th January), there have been no further sightings of him. Is he continuing his journey north and heading home?

 

 

Have a look at the footage below of Thor in Scarborough

 

Long tusks

 

The footage above clearly shows Thor's long tusks. It is these that indicate clearly that he is male.

 

The charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue have been monitoring the walruus constantly during his time in the UK and looking after his welfare.

 

They have requested that any sighting of Thor is reported to them as soon as is possible and that the public, in no cirumstance, approach the animal. Any contact could prove dangerous to both the person and the walrus. Please keep well back.

 

BDMLR Rescue hotline - 01825 765546
bdmlr.org.uk

 

 

 

What do walruses eat?

 

Walruses are not particularly fussy eaters but their favourite food is clams - small bi-valves no doubt including Dieppe scallops! Because walruses are very large and clams are very small, walruses will typically eat 3,000 to 6,000 clams a day.

 

They feed by sliding along the sea bed, with their snouts in the sand feeling out clams which are partially or wholly buried.