By Tim Binnall
A father and daughter walking along a beach in Ireland could not believe their eyes when they spotted a giant arctic walrus resting on some rocks. The incredibly rare sighting reportedly occurred on Sunday afternoon as Alan Houlihan and his daughter Muireann were exploring the shore of the country's Valentia Island. The five-year-old girl first noticed the enormous creature and pointed it out to her dad, who initially suspected that it was a seal until he saw that it sported a pair of tusks.
"He kind of jumped up on the rocks," Houlihan recalled, marveling that "he was massive. He was about the size of a bull or a cow, pretty similar in size, he’s big, big." The pair watched the enormous creature, believed to be around six-and-a-half-feet long, resting on the rocks seemingly in an exhausted state, although it did occasionally dip back into the water before returning to its perch. Sightings of walruses in the waters of Ireland are not entirely unheard of, though incredibly rare with only around 20 reports in the last century.
As for how the creature could have wound up on the rocks of Valentia Island, a marine biologist theorized that the walrus had originated from somewhere in its natural habitat around the Arctic Circle and probably "fell asleep on an iceberg and drifted off and then he was gone too far, out into the mid-Atlantic or somewhere like that down off Greenland possibly." Like a sailor adrift at sea, the mighty marine animal, which would have traveled thousands of miles over the course of the journey, eventually caught sight of the Irish shore and made its way towards land in the hopes of finding something to eat.