male Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus)

wild caught in September 1883

unknown status ≥ 1884

Ancestors and Descendants

No known related animals.

Transfer History

  1. capture 1883-Sep in Davis Strait

  2. transfer 1883-Oct-04 to Dundee, Scotland

  3. transfer 1883-Oct to Royal Aquarium

  4. transfer 1884-Jan to Berliner Aquarium Unter den Linden

  5. transfer 1884-May to Zoo Frankfurt

  6. transfer 1884 to Zoo Dresden

  7. transfer 1884 to Brighton Aquarium

  8. transfer 1884 to Royal Aquarium

  9. transfer 1884-Sep-03 to Austin & Stone's Monster Museum

  10. unknown ≥ 1884 at Austin & Stone's Monster Museum

Physical Data

The dates listed here generally represent the time at which the measurements were published, not necessarily the date on which they were taken.


  • 1884-Apr-15: 85 kg · 187 lb


  • 1883-Oct-11: "between four and five feet"

Daily Diet

  • 1883-Oct-11: Salmon

  • 1884-Apr-15: Incrementally 20, then 30, then 50 pounds of fresh haddock and cod per day

Image Gallery

No images available at this time.

Notes and Information

This walrus was captured at approximately five months of age by Captain Walker and company aboard the whaling ship 'Polynia', after his mother had been shot and harpooned. The news of his capture had been telegraphed, and the ship was greeted upon return by representatives of German, American, and English exhibitors hoping to acquire the pup. The calf was ultimately purchased by William Leonard Hunt (under the pseudonymic surname of Farini) for the Royal Aquarium of London, where the young walrus was displayed alongside his mother's tusks. The calf made its public debut in London on October 6th.

On November 15th, 1883, specimens of the parasitic roundworms Ascaris bicolor (a now unaccepted synonym of Anisakis simplex [sensu lato]) collected from this walrus were presented by Dr. J. Murie to the Linnaean Society of London.

This walrus arrived at Berlin from London in mid-January 1884, and was afterwards scheduled to be exhibited at Zoo Frankfurt from May 10th to the 27th of that same year. The young bull's history after this is unclear; Ingvar Svangberg references the calf being exhibited at Dresden, though I was unable to find the source for this information, and can only assume he would have arrived there after Frankfurt and before his return to England. He was transferred to the Brighton Aquarium at "between fourteen and fifteen months old", which would have placed the date of transfer at approximately June or July of 1884. This walrus's history after his transfer to the Monster Museum is unknown to me, although it is of note that the Berlin Aquarium exhibited a walrus a second time, in 1886 -- there is some small possibility that this may have been the same individual, although this would have been a remarkable case of longevity for the time.

The walrus was trained by an unnamed man, only ever referenced as a "Mulatto" and "Negro". The walrus was said to have an 'astonishing attachment' to his 'masterful' trainer, who called him "dear dog" and "dear boy". The walrus was said to have been able to recognize his keeper by his walk before he was within sight, and would follow him closely at all times, even outside of his exhibit.

While walruses have been noted for their extreme intelligence and docility ever since the first calves were taken alive for display and trained in the early 1600s, this particular individual is the earliest well-documented example we currently have of advanced training with this species. This individual's keeper taught him numerous commands of varying complexity, from laying down and splashing water with his foreflippers to climbing a chair to play a tambourine and firing a revolver by pulling a string attached to the trigger.


  • 2010-Dec. Ingvar Svanberg. Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) in Captivity. Retrieved from ResearchGate [archive]

  • 1986. Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff et al. Plakate 1880 - 1914. Retrieved from Google Books.

  • 1884-Sep. Farini's Living Walrus. Retrieved from the Harvard Library.

  • 1884. Neuen Zoologischen Gesellschaft. Ein junges Walroß in Gefangenschaft. Retrieved from Google Books.

  • 1884-Apr-15. Otto Herman. Ueber das im Berliner Aquarium ausgestellte Walross. Retrieved from Biodiversity Library [archive]

  • 1883-Nov-15. The Linnaean Society of London. Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of London (Session 1883-84). Retrieved from Oxford Academic [archive]

  • 1883-Oct-11. The Flintshire Observer. A Live Walrus in London. Retrieved from The National Library of Wales [archive]