Cute and playful facts about Beluga Whales

Beluga Whale is one of the species in the cetacean familywhich is a group of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Dweller of the Arctic neighbourhood, Beluga has a distinct pale shade with a petite stature. Read to know more about them.

 Belugas are awfully vocal

Often called the ‘sea canary’, Belugas have a rich and diverse vocalization which can at times even be heard on the ships. They can have as distinct as 34 different calls ranging from high-pitched whistles, clicks, cries, whines, tweets, and bell-like tones. They use these sounds as navigation to swim past dark waters and also communicate between themselves using these sounds.

Their unique body colour helps them to survive

Though the young ones are grey in colour, the adult Belugas are a pure white share. This is one of their most distinct features but also helps them to blend in the water. Since they live among the ice and water of the Arctic Ocean, this skin pigment enables them to camouflage against predatory polar bears and orcas.

Belugas often use bubbles to converse

Apart from being great vocalists, Belugas also have a cute and funny ability to blow bubbles. On one hand, rings and bubbles gradually freed from the blowhole are associated with playfulness, other types of bubbles are seen as performing other important functional roles. Like, sudden bubble burst is to demonstrate defensiveness, whereas social bonding is depicted by marching bubble-blowing by 2 whales.

They can swim backwards

This is quite unique among cetaceans; they can actually swim backwards! Although they are extremely slow swimmers, this unique ability or rather flexibility compensates in a way.

 For a whale, Belugas have a highly flexible neck

As the seven neck vertebrae of the beluga whale are not fused, it can freely turn its head sideways and up and down. This uniqueness works wonders in hunting for the prey in a habitat full of ice and slit.

Belugas can replicate human sounds too

A Beluga whale, NOC, who lived in human captivity at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego for 30 years was one of the first belugas to mimic the speech of its human contact. When someone entered its water tank, it mimicked the word ‘out’ making the diver come out.

Often referred to as ‘melonheads’, Beluga whales are surely cute and playful marine mammals with a thick layer of blubber insulation helping them survive the harsh ecosystem of their Arctic habitat.

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