Ecosystem/Habitat

Shallow, seaside waters and near the ice edge; sometimes in rivers

Feeding Habits

Foraging predator

Taxonomy

Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales), family members Monodontidae (white whales)

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The beluga whale is a fairly small toothed whale that is brown-gray at birth and bright white in adulthood. The beluga is one of just two types in the “white whales” family, the other being the narwhal. As they are closely related and do not have actually the characteristic tusk the the males, juvenile and female narwhals can be incorrectly figured out as belugas.

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Belugas, however, space typically much more solidly white than their grayish cousins.Adult belugas are additionally slightly larger than narwhals, getting to lengths of roughly 18 feet (5.5 m).Interestingly, the beluga whale is the only types of cetacean (whales and dolphins) that has a movable neck.Belugas deserve to move your heads up and down and from side to side.

Beluga whales are minimal to the Arctic ocean and surrounding waters.They feed in shallow, seaside waters during the summer and near the ice edge in winter.Some populaces undergo long, seasonal migrations, while others are more resident in nature.They eat a variety of fish and invertebrate prey.Killer whalesand polar bearshave been recognized to attack and also eat beluga whales.Scientists believe that belugas may swim far into ice-covered waters to prevent orcasbut the this might put castle in better risk that predation through polar bears.When searching belugas, polar bears usage their incredible toughness to traction them top top the ice surface ar whenever they involved a feet to breathe.

Occasionally, belugas have the right to be observed far inland, swimming up coastal rivers as far as numerous miles.Scientists do not understand if this trips into freshwater room for feeding or for other purposes, yet belugas are apparently unafraid of really shallow water.In fact, part individuals have been recognized to make it through being stranded/beached through patiently wait for the return of the high tide.Belugas are likewise known for their loud, clean vocalizations.They frequently “sing,” and can also be heard over the s surface by civilization in watercrafts or onshore.

Conservation scientists take into consideration the beluga to be near threatened through extinction.Climate adjust is resulting in rapid changes to the Arctic ecosystem that affect beluga habitat, and chemical air pollution in the Arctic is specifically bad, risking the health and wellness of big predators favor this species.These whales room hunted, legally, by indigenous peoples all around the Arctic, yet this recurring hunt is not usually thought come threaten the species.Climate readjust and air pollution are most likely more far-reaching threats to beluga populations, though further research is necessary before accurate predictions have the right to be made.

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Fun Facts around Beluga Whales

1. Beluga whales grow up to 16 feet (4.8 m) long and also weigh 3,150 pounds (1.4 metric tons) top top average.

2. Beluga whales have the right to live up to 50 years.

3. Beluga whales space born dark gray and get lighter as they age, eventually becoming white when they’ve reached sexual maturity.

4. Beluga whales can dive more than 3,280 feet (1,000 m) and stay under for as much as 25 minutes at a time.

5. Beluga whales live in Arctic waters and also sometimes venture into freshwater rivers.

6. Beluga whales burned their skin each summer by rubbing against coarse gravel.1

7. Beluga whales do not have actually fused neck vertebrae like other whales, which enables them to relocate their top up, down and also side come side.

8. Beluga whales have bulbous, versatile foreheads dubbed “melons” that aid them produce sound and make face expressions.

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Beluga whales space often dubbed the “canaries of the sea” due to the fact that they vocalize plenty of different sounds, including clicks, whistles, chirps and squeals.2

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