The world is full of adorable baby animals -- tigers, polar bears, chimps, kittens, hedgehogs -- but walruses don't always necessarily fit into that category. They're fat, sort of slimy, terrible at cuddling. They also have weird moustaches and big walrus tusks. Cool is a word we've heard used to describe the oversized mammals. Cute? Not so much.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mitik -- Mit for short. The Alaska Sea Life Center picked up this baby walrus off the coast near Barrow with his buddy Pakak. Then just nine weeks old, the poor guy didn't have any parents and needed intensive care when he got back to land. Six weeks later, Mit is a 234-pound bundle of joy with a terrific appetite and many chins. He's also the newest addition to the New York Aquarium just off the Coney Island Boardwalk. (That's basically the Brooklyn Riviera.)
One of the few institutions in the United States that takes care of walruses, the New York Aquarium is excited to welcome Mit to their facility on Thursday after he travels down from Alaska in jumbo-sized crate abord a FedEx jet. There, Mit will join the 30-year-old walrus Nuka and the 17-year-old Kulu. Pakak will arrive at the Indianapolis Zoo the same day. Walruses are very social animals, so it's important for them to be kept in groups. That said, we can already tell, he's going to outshine his new roommates, at least for the first few weeks.
Martha Hiatt, the aquarium's behavioral husbandry supervisor, has already spent some time with the baby walrus. "If Mit is resting with his head on my lap" -- that's cute -- "sucking my fingers, looking sweetly into my eyes" -- so cute -- "and Pak comes anywhere near us, he pops up" -- the cuteness, nonstop cuteness -- "yells at Pak and tries to head-butt him," she said. "Then he'll turn to me and be all cuddly again." We're dying right now. "We say he is small, but scrappy -- the perfect New Yorker."