Mother walrus defending cubs sinks Russian Navy boat

The walrus attacked a Russian naval dinghy carrying scientists from a tugboat [Photo: Mirror file]

The Russian Navy may be mighty - but it proved no match for the maternal instincts of a protective walrus.

The large female living in the Arctic Ocean took a disliking to a naval boat that appears to have crossed into a path between her and her cubs.

According to reports, the walrus attacked a small rubber landing craft carrying a team of scientists from their tugboat and sank the vessel.

According to Russia's military news, the team of researchers were on an expedition to the Franz Josef Land archipelago to study its flora and fauna when the walrus attacked.

"During the landing at Cape Heller, a group of researchers had to flee from a female walrus, which, protecting its cubs, attacked an expedition boat," the Russian Military's Northern Fleet statement said.

While multiple reports claim the inflatable boat sank, the fleet did not say what became of the vessel in its press release.

Maternal defence instincts kicked in for the mother walrus [Photo: Mirror file/Getty Images/iStockphoto]

It said "serious trouble" at sea was avoided thanks to the fleet's servicemen who were able to move the boats away from the mammals without harming them.

The military appeared to have been flying a drone above a herd of walruses on a nearby beach to take scientific photographs in recent weeks.

Photos posted by the Northern Fleet last week showed massive walrus colonies sighted on the icy archipelago and in surrounding waters.

According to National Geographic, the moustached and long-tusked Arctic walrus are large and extremely sociable animals.

They can measure up to 11.5ft and weight up to 1.5 tons.

The marine mammals like to lie on the ice in large groups, loudly bellowing and snorting at one another.

They are aggressive in mating season.


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