All About Beluga Whales
The Beluga Whale’s scientific name is Delphinapterus
Belugas are entirely arctic and subarctic, meaning
that they live in the Arctic ocean and its adjoining
seas. Beluga whales swim among ice burgs and ice flows
where temperatures can be as low as O degrees Celsius.
They are sometimes found in shallow water, and may only
be in water deep enough to cover their bodies.
Beluga Whales is the only all white cetacean. Beluga
whales are also known as “white whales” or “blukha”,
or even “sea canaries”. Beluga Whale calves are tinged
dark gray at birth and it gradually fades to pure white.
Adult Beluga whales are yellowish to a creamy white
color, as they mature they tend to become whiter. Beluga
whales molt their skin once per year.
The Beluga Whale has a long muscular body and a blunt
nose. Beluga Whales are 13-18 feet long and weigh 1
-1.5 tons. Female Beluga Whales are slightly smaller
than their male counter parts. Beluga Whales have eight
to ten peg shaped teeth on both the upper and lower
jaws giving them approximately 34 teeth. Beluga whales
use their teethfor grasping and tearing rather than
chewing. The Beluga whale has small dark eyes located
behind the corners of their mouths. Beluga whales have
a single blowhole.
Beluga whales have an acute sense of hearing they
can hear sounds in the range of 1.2 to 120khz, where
humans typically hear .02 to 20 khz. Beluga Whales communicate
using a series of sounds that include squeaks, whistles,
mews, clicks and belches. Whalers nicknamed the Beluga
whale the “sea canary” for their unusual noise combinations.
Belugas feed on arctic Cod. Beluga whales are opportunistic
hunters and they do not chew their food, they swallow
it whole. The male Belugas will dive to 500 meters to
find fish, while the smaller females and the young Belugas
will dive to 350 meters, because of their smaller lung
Beluga whales are very social, they will rub against
each other and “play”. Beluga Whales live in groups
called pods. A pod of whales is a cohesive social unit,
that consists of between 2 and 25 other whales. The
average Beluga whale pod size is about 10. Beluga Whales
travel in their pods. When calving a female may separate
from the pod. A pod is typically comprised of both males
and females, with a single male that is the pod leader.
The pod hunt and migrate together. A pod of Beluga whales
will herd fish into shallow water before attacking.
On occasion many small pods may join to form a herd
of between 200 and 10,000 whales, these herds may form
Male Beluga whales are sexually mature at 8 to 9 years
of age, while females mature between the ages of 4 to
7 years. A single dominant male beluga whale may mate
with several females. Gestation is 14 months gives birth
to a single calf every two to three years. When Belugas
are first born they will often swim on their mothers
backs. Young Beluga whales learn to survive by observing
and mimicking the habits of the adults in their pod.
Beluga whales nurse for the first year of their life,
and then supplement with shrimp and small fish, most
belugas only nurse for 20-24 months in total.
The world population of Beluga whales is estimated
to be about 60-80,000. Killer whales and polar bears
prey on beluga whales. Beluga whales usually live 25
to 30 years. The Beluga Whale population is also endangered
and considered vulnerable do due chemical pollution.
About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals http://www.wildlife-animals.com
an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also
guest writes for Dog Pound http://www.dog-pound.net