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Walrus Fell Asleep On An Iceberg In The North Pole And Woke Up In Ireland

A nap gone wrong led to a very rare sighting.

Have you ever drifted off to sleep on a train or bus and totally missed your stop? You are not alone.

In March 2021 on the western shore of Ireland, a walrus was spotted. This is an extremely rare sight – so how did it get there?

Experts say that the walrus most likely fell asleep on an iceberg in the Arctic and floated all the way to Ireland while it was napping!

walrus on ice
Paul Souders

“I’d say what happened is he 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,” Kevin Flannery, director of Oceanworld Aquarium in Dingle, Co. Kerry, told the Irish Independent.

Arctic walrus first spotted in Ireland after 'falling asleep on iceberg'  turns up in Pembrokeshire | ITV News Wales

“That is usually what happens… they fall asleep on an iceberg and get carried off from the Arctic.”

The animal was first noticed by a man local to the area named Alan Houlihan, along with his 5-year-old daughter, Muireann.

Undated handout photo of five year old Muireann Houlihan with the walrus she spotted along the coast of Valentia Island, Co Kerry, believed to have drifted over to Ireland from the Arctic. Issue date: Monday March 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCIAL Walrus. Photo credit should read: Alan Houlihan/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

“I thought it was a seal at first and then we saw the tusks. He kind of jumped up on the rocks.”

“He was massive. He was about the size of a bull or a cow, pretty similar in size, he’s big, big,” Houlihan said.

Undated handout photo of five year old Muireann Houlihan with the walrus she spotted along the coast of Valentia Island, Co Kerry, believed to have drifted over to Ireland from the Arctic. Issue date: Monday March 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCIAL Walrus. Photo credit should read: Alan Houlihan/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

“He was right beside us, less than 50 meters away from us. He went off again for a while and he came back and went back to the rocks.”

Although the animal is totally adorable, Flannery said that the creature was likely to be exhausted and hungry after drifting on such a long journey.

Undated handout photo of the walrus that was spotted by five year old Muireann Houlihan along the coast of Valentia Island, Co Kerry, believed to have drifted over to Ireland from the Arctic. Issue date: Monday March 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCIAL Walrus. Photo credit should read: Alan Houlihan/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

The public was urged to make sure to give the animal plenty of space if they encounter it.

“Hopefully he’ll get a few scallops around Valentia. But at this point, he wants to rest. He’s come from the North Pole, possibly off Greenland,” Flanner said.

Arctic Walrus Travels Thousands of Miles to Ireland After Likely Falling  Asleep on Iceberg

“He could also be island-hopping and went to Iceland and on to Shetland but that’s unlikely. I’d say he came in out of the Atlantic. It’s thousands of miles away. If he regains his strength hopefully he’ll make his way back up.”

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Written by Alice Joan