If you see a walrus in the wild, chances are you'll see other walruses with it. A lot of other walruses. And it doesn't matter if the ice floe that they have chosen as the spot on which to rest is seemingly far too small to accommodate such a massive quantity of blubber and tusk: Like a Great Dane that doesn't know it isn't supposed to be a lap dog, they will somehow squeeze their collective bulk onto it. It can be, candidly, an amusing sight: a floating platform of ice barely visible beneath a mound of giant pinnipeds.
The strategy is not without its risks: Walruses can be spooked, and sometimes it only takes one of the throng to twitch in response to some anticipated danger for the rest of the crowd to hurtle into the water - leaving pups in particular of being crushed beneath the tumult.
VIDEO: Ice Disappears, Walruses Head for Land
But there is method in such evident madness. For one, the potential risk is outweighed by the doctrine of safety in numbers, and the fact that so many walruses in one place provides protection against polar bears. But the reason they seek out ice floes in the first place is not only to rest, but also because they need a platform from which to dive to the shallow seabed and feast on the clams, snails, worms and other benthic animals that are their preferred prey.