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Beluga Whale 14078 WEB2Credit: Andy Murch

8 Things You Didn't Know About Belugas

 

The white whale fact sheet

(Delphinapterus leucas)

DON'T MISS ANDY MURCH's TRIP REPORT IN DIVING WITH BELUGA WHALES IN OUR FREE NOVEMBER 2014 ISSUE!

1  Calves are born gray or even brown and only fade to white as they become sexually mature around five years of age

2  The beluga's body size is between that of a dolphin's and a true whale’s, with males growing up to 5.5m (18ft) long and weighing up to 1,600kg (3,500lb). They have a stocky body and a visible neck and can move their heads from side to side and have the ability to look behind

3  They don't have dorsal fins - just a small dorsal ridge

4  Their sense of hearing is highly developed and they possess echolocation, which allows them to move about and find blowholes under sheet ice

5  Belugas are gregarious and they form groups of up to 10 animals on average, although during the summer months, they can gather in the hundreds or even thousands in estuaries and shallow coastal areas

6  They are slow swimmers, but can dive down to 700m (2,300 ft) below the surface

7  They are opportunistic feeders and their diets vary according to their locations and the season. They mainly eat fish, crustaceans and other deep-sea invertebrates

8  Belugas use sound to find their prey.  They also use sound to communicate and navigate by producing a variety of clicks, chirps and whistles and are known as the 'canaries of the sea'

 

Don't miss Andy Murch's trip report in diving with beluga whales in our FREE November 2014 issue!

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