This was the last letter of the alphabet with any real options, and although I was seriously considering a much-suggested wombat, which are incredibly cute, we ended up with this walrus instead. Maybe it’s because I opted for an emu instead of an elephant several letters ago, but I just needed to doodlewash something chubby with tusks. And a walrus definitely fits the chubby description, clocking in at an incredible 4,000 pounds. But unlike humans, their blubber is actually necessary for survival and protects them in icy waters.
The most distinct part of walruses are their long ivory tusks. The tusks are actually modified extra large canine teeth that never stop growing. What’s unusual about these teeth is that they aren’t used for gathering food but to help the walrus pull itself out of the water or make breathing holes in ice floes. The secondary use is as a weapon against other male walruses to display dominance during mating season and get the attention of the waiting females.
Walrus prefer to feast on bottom feeders like shellfish, so they can dive 260 feet (79 meters) to the bottom of the ocean to have a snack. It also pretty handy then that they can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes. Once on the bottom of the ocean, they simply use their very sensitive 450 whiskers, called vibrissae, to help them locate food. Pretty cool, I thought, and then got distracted and ended my quick and dirty research. Next up, we’ve finally made it to the option-free “X” in our little alphabet adventure, and just 3 more letters in total to go now!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Red, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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