A walrus hauled out on a shingle beach.

The walrus is believed to be an individual known as Thor, who has been seen around the North Sea and English Channel ©Steve Blanchard/BDMLR

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Walrus spotted on beach in southern UK

A walrus has been spotted hauled out on a beach in Hampshire, UK, this weekend.

Thought to be an individual named Thor, the marine mammal has been seen visiting other locations in the North Sea and English Channel over the past few weeks, including the Netherlands and the north coast of France. 

An unusual visitor turned up on Calshot beach, Hampshire, this weekend, as local residents spotted a large walrus resting on the shingle.

The marine mammal was seen in the early hours of Sunday morning, before swimming off again during the afternoon.

Members of the charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) were on the scene where the walrus was resting on the south coast of England. They were there to monitor the animal and put up a cordon to try and limit the stress it might experience from curious members of the public.   

'Repeated visitors are going to prevent the animal from conserving its energy and making its next journey,' explained Dan Jarvis, the director of welfare and conservation at the BDMLR.

'The more people than can leave it alone, the better chance it has of surviving.'


Walruses can reach up to 1.5 tonnes in weight, and are more usually found swimming within the Arctic Circle and its surrounding waters.

Their massive size, along with the fact that the animals are so far from home and likely already stressed, means that people are urged to keep well clear of Thor if it is spotted again. The public has also been asked not to share its location on social media to try and limit any crowds that might gather.

This is not the first time one of the marine mammals has made an appearance around the UK coast. There have been at least 27 sightings of walruses in UK waters during the last 130 years, with a number of individuals making headlines recently.  

During 2021 one animal nicknamed Wally swam down the western coast of the UK and Ireland to northern Spain before making a return trip to the Arctic, while a female called Freya spent several months swimming around the North and Baltic Sea before meeting a fateful end in Norway.  

While there is no evidence that walruses will become a regular fixture in UK waters, the melting of the sea ice in the Arctic is expected to cause shifts in their movements.  

The current whereabouts of Thor remain unknown. The BDMLR have said, 'We've not had any location details yet as to where it's gone - but it may well appear somewhere along the coast again tonight or tomorrow.'

'If you do happen to spot it, don't share the location on social media but stay well clear and contact us.'