Animal Stories: Narwhales
Narwhals are unique looking whales with large horn-like tusk on their face. They are also called The Unicorn of the Sea as their tusk resembles the appearance of the legendary unicorn. The name Narwhale means “corpse whale” because they often swim belly up‚ lying motionless for several minutes.
Narwhals usually take their time going places‚ slowly breathing and rolling‚ but when chased‚ they are remarkably quick.
At birth Narwhals appear their darkest with molted black — greyish colouring and white spotted patterns. As they grow older their dark colouring begins to lighten. The long ivory tusk of Narwhals extend from the upper left side of its jaw which measures 7-10 feet in length. The tusk is straight as an arrow‚ spiralled up to five inches from the tip where it is polished and smooth. The females tusk is shorter than the males tusk and on very rare occasions both species may grow a second tusk.
Narwhales have about four inches of fat to insulate them from the cold Arctic waters. They are usually in pods of about 10 to 100 whales that swim solely in the Arctic waters. Sometimes they travel in small family groups‚ in these groups they communicate by means of a great variety of squeals‚ trills‚ whistles‚ and clicks.
Narwhal use their forehead sense of echo location to find things like other marine mammals. They also use this part of the forehead to feel sound waves as they bounce through the water.
After the gestation period of 10 to 16 months‚ females give birth to young ones. Mother Narwhals nurse their baby till they are about four months old. Male narwhals generally reach maturity between 8 to 10 years of age while females reach maturity between 4 to 7 years.
Narwhals are 10 to 20 feet in length and weigh around 1600 kilos.
Narwhals feed on squid and flatfish.
Narwhals can be found in the Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic waters year round.
Narwhals have lifespan of around 50 years.