I didn’t realize it was possible to fall in love with walruses. But it is. I’ve done it. Over the summer our family enjoyed a day at the Vancouver Aquarium and got to visit Lakina and Balzak, the 2 year old walruses at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Walruses at the Vancouver Aquarium

Photo credit: Vancouver Aquarium

Right now the staff at the Vancouver Aquarium are learning all about Lakina and Balzak which means the general public has a different experience with these animals than what we are used to. The Vancouver Aquarium has, for the first time, opened up their Research Outpost. This venue is tucked away behind where the former beluga habitat is located. The space is small giving visitors an incredibly unique view of the husbandry, research, and enrichment sessions. And it’s not just the walruses that you can catch at the Research Outpost, you can witness sessions with Steller sea lions and Northern fur seals.

But back to the stars of the show: Lakina and Balzak. Currently the 2 year olds weigh an astonishing 300kg and 400kg respectively. When fully grown Lakina will likely reach somewhere between 1,250 and 1,700kg. But Balzak’s is even more impressive, he could reach upwards of 3,700kg!

Walruses have a few very distinguishing features. Their massive size is due to their need of a substantial layer of blubber and thick skin to keep them warm in the icy waters of the Arctic. But their whiskers are the best bit! 400 to 700 whiskers, or vibrissea, make up their moustaches which are used to hunt for their favourite foods like clams, mussels and sea cucumbers along the dark ocean floor.

And if you fall in love with the walruses as much as I did, you can bring one home with you! Okay, not a real one, but a super cuddly stuffie one! Just visit the Gift Shop to pick up your own Lakina or Balzak.

Walruses at the Vancouver Aquarium:

Address: 845 Avison Way, Stanley Park, Vancouver