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Narwhal

Monodon monoceros
Narwhal

Range

They are found in waters around the Arctic circle off the coasts of North America and Russia, also in Hudson Bay, and off the east coast of Greenland.

Habitat

They live in the deep waters of ice packed oceans, bays and fjords.

Body Traits

They grow up to 20 feet long and can weight over 2,000 pounds (a ton). They have white, green and brown speckles and a long ridge down their backs to their tail (flukes). They have small eyes. Males have one, long, ivory tusk that can reach 9 feet long. New research suggests this tusk may have a sensory role for the whale — it may help them sense things in the water.

Habits

They travel in separate groups: females with young, young males, and groups of mature males. These groups can grow to hundreds or more when they are traveling or feeding. They are often seen together with beluga whales. They travel (migrate) seasonally. They can be trapped in the ice and die without an air hole to breathe through.

Diet

They eat fish, shrimp, and squid. They hunt prey in dark, deep waters using a kind of radar called echolocation.

Predators

They are hunted by sharks, killer whales, and polar bears.

Reproduction

Females are pregnant for 10-16 months (gestation). They have 1 calf (sometimes twins) every 2-3 years. Calves are brown.

Lifespan and/or Conservation Status

They can live up to 50 years.

 

Narwhal

Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Suborder: Odontoceti
Family: Monodontidae
Genus: Monodon
Species: Monodon monoceros

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