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Walruses



Walruses
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.3

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    pickaxes, sensor-like, mating, icy-cold, propel, incorrect, canine, region, large, interesting, murky, actually, shellfish, underwater, adult, attack


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Walruses   

1     Walruses have two large tusks sticking out from their upper jaws. These two tusks are actually their upper canine teeth. Walruses live in the Arctic region. They can survive the icy-cold weather because they have plenty of blubber (body fat) stored under their skin. Walruses are one of the largest and heaviest land mammals living in the Arctic. They are even heavier than polar bears! Adult walruses can grow to twelve feet in length and weigh about 3,700 pounds.
 
2     Walruses' tusks serve many different functions. They are used as weapons, as hooks, and as pickaxes. When two walruses fight, they attack each other using their tusks. Fighting becomes more frequent during the mating season as two male walruses compete to win the heart of a female walrus. When walruses are ready to take a rest on land, they hook their tusks onto the ice to help pull their heavy body out of the water. Walruses also use their tusks as pickaxes to cut a path through the ice.
 
3     In the past, scientists believed that walruses use their tusks to dig around the ocean bottom to search for their favorite foods - clams, crabs, shellfish, and sea urchins. This assumption, however, has been proven incorrect. How do walruses find their food then? Walruses have about 400 to 700 whiskers in 13 to 15 rows on their snouts. Walruses use these sensor-like whiskers to feel around the murky ocean bottom. When they find food, they shoot a jet of water from their mouths to make the prey move so they can eat it.

Paragraphs 4 to 5:
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Animal Themes
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Mammals
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Oceans
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             Polar Regions



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