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Whale Gifts

Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale is sometimes used to refer to all cetaceans, but more often it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which are also cetaceans but belong to the suborder Odontoceti. This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga whale. The suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales), are filter feeders that feed on small organisms caught by straining seawater through a comblike structure found in the mouth called baleen. This suborder includes the blue whale, the humpback whale the bowhead whale and the minke whales. All Cetacea have forelimbs modified as fins, a tail with horizontal flukes, and nasal openings on top of the head.

Beluga Whales

All About Beluga Whales

The Beluga Whale’s scientific name is Delphinapterus Leucas.

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 capacity.

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 during migration.

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 an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also guest writes for Dog Pound

Whale Gifts




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