The Beluga: Learn All About The Artic White Whale


Photo: alazor via Getty Images

 

The beluga whale is a fascinating creature that calls the Arctic waters home. These marine mammals are unique for their coloration and lack of dorsal fin. Belugas get their name from the Russian word for "white" and are found in coastal waters from the Bering Sea to Hudson Bay.

Now we're guessing you're here because you want to know more about belugas. So let's dive in and take a closer look at these white wonders of the cold seas!

Description and Appearance

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Belugas are one of the most easily recognizable whales due to their unique coloration. They have a pure white body, which makes them stand out against the dark waters of the Arctic. They also lack a dorsal fin which is another distinguishing characteristic as previously touched on

Belugas are also relatively small compared to other whales, measuring in at around 15 feet in length and weighing up to a whopping 3000 pounds. So if you can imagine a small white car driving through the ocean then that's your beluga for you!

Their white color is an effective form of camouflage in the Arctic environment and they can also change their skin tone slightly to match their surroundings. This ability is known as countershading and is used by many animals to avoid being seen. However, it’s impossible to ignore Gage Beasley’s Beluga White Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Toy! It has all the cute features a beluga has, but in plushie form (which, I argue, could equally be just as good).

Gage Beasley’s Beluga White Whale Soft Stuffed Plush Toy

Like other toothed whales, belugas have a pair of blowholes on the top of their head through which they breathe. They also have small eyes and rudimentary ears but lack a tail fin.

Diet

Belugas are opportunistic feeders and will consume a variety of prey depending on what is available in their environment. They eat fish, crustaceans, squid, octopus, and other marine invertebrates.

These white whales typically hunt in packs and use their echolocation abilities to locate prey. They will then stun the fish with a quick burst of sound before scooping them up into their mouths.

Belugas have been known to eat ice as a way of regulating their body temperature in the cold Arctic waters. By eating the ice, they are able to absorb the salt and minerals from it which helps them to stay hydrated.

Beluga whales have been known to interact with fishermen in the Arctic. In some cases, they have even been known to steal fish from the nets. That sounds like what an opportunistic feeder would do, right?

Reproduction

They're one of the few whale species that can mate and give birth at any time of year. The gestation period for belugas is around 15 months and they give birth to one calf at a time.

Newborn calves are around four feet in length and weigh approximately 150 pounds They are able to swim and dive shortly after birth, but will stay close to their mothers for the first few years of their life.

Female belugas reach sexual maturity at around five years of age, while males reach maturity around seven years. Belugas are known to form mating pairs and remain together for life.

Distribution and Conservation Status

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Belugas are found in coastal waters from the Bering Sea to Hudson Bay. They are most common in the Arctic but can also be found in sub-Arctic and temperate waters.

The beluga population is estimated to be around 150,000 animals and they are considered to be a species of least concern by the IUCN.

Final Thoughts

The beluga whale is a remarkable animal that has adapted to live in one of the most hostile environments on Earth. They are highly intelligent animals and have been used in marine mammal shows around the world due to their friendly nature towards humans.

They are also one of the few whale species that can mate and give birth at any time of year, which makes them an incredibly resilient species.

We hope you've enjoyed learning about these white wonders of the Arctic!

 

 Cheers!

~GB


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