Animals of the world, Narwhal

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narrhval (640x377)

  • A medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large tusk
  • Found primarily in the Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic and Russian waters, the narwhal is a uniquely specialized Arctic predator
  • The tusks are actually teeth. Usually, the canine tooth on the left side of the upper jaw becomes a tusk. All adult narwhals have two teeth. Narwhals don’t use their teeth for biting or chewing. Instead, they suck their prey down whole. In the females, both teeth usually remain in the skull. One in 500 males has two tusks, which occurs when the right tooth, normally small, also grows out
  • The total body size can range from 3.95 to 5.5 m (13 to 18 ft)
  • Recent research by Nweeia who works at Harvard University in Boston, Mass. suggests that Narwhals are using sound waves to stun the fish before they eat them. Research also revealed that the tusk has no enamel coating, protecting the nerves underneath. Without enamel, the Narwhal can sense changes in the water, like how salty the water is. When ice forms in the ocean the water will become slightly saltier, which is a signal to leave the area before ice forms over their head.
  • They  feed mainly on species of cod, in some areas they include squid, shrimp, and various fish
  • Narwhals normally congregate in groups of about five to ten, and sometimes up to 20
  • Narwhals exhibit seasonal migrations, with a high fidelity of return to preferred, ice-free summering grounds, usually in shallow waters
  • Narwhals can live up to 50 years

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