Beluga Whales

Beluga whales are some of the strangest looking whales.

A Beluga Whale
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  • Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) belong to the family Monotontidae, and the genus Delphinapterus.
  • They are unusual types of whales. They are white and often referred to as "White Whales." Their name comes from "beloy" meaning "white" in Russian.
  • They live in the Arctic polar regions just like their close relatives the Narwhals. They are found north of the 60 degree latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, and they are also found north of the Polar Circle.


A Beluga Whale Looks at the Camera
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  • A beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) is easy to recognise by its greyish-white colour and a distinctive head dominated by its large melon.  
  • It can be up to 5.5m long and weigh up to 1.6 tons.
  • Unlike most other whales and dolphins, it can show facial expressions by changing the shape of its face; and it can turn its head laterally.

  • It lacks a dorsal fin, probably as an adaption to swimming under ice.
  • Belugas have relatively large eyes, and short flippers.
  • They are very sociable animals and are known to move between different pods.
  • They are playful, and make high pitched sounds.
  • They eat mainly fish, but also shrimps, crabs, octopus, squid and other sea animals.
  •  They can swim backwards and they can live longer than 50 years.
  • There are about 100,000 of them in the world, however this is a small amount of the populations that existed before whaling.
  • Today they are threatened by water pollution, contaminants in their food chain, commercial fishing and Naval sonar among other things.

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