narwhal

6 Fascinating Facts About Narwhals

The narwhals in children's books are a far cry from the real animals that live in the depths of the ocean. Picture books paint these creatures as colorful, friendly sea creatures with a mystique similar to that of mermaids and unicorns. There is something special about fostering imaginary play by providing kids with plush toys in the shape of these mystical ocean creatures. For science-minded little ones, share these facts about narwhals that will pique their curiosity and desire to learn about marine life.

narwhal

 

The dagger, or tusk, jutting out from the head of a narwhal is actually a front canine tooth.

The tusk is made of ivory, measures up to 10 feet long, and weighs about 22 pounds. It looks like a weapon but some scientists have a theory that it serves more as a sensory organ to survey the surrounding environment.

 

narwhals

 

Narwhals tend to travel in groups typically between 10 to 15 animals.

It's fascinating to note that marine biologists have spotted thousands of narwhals swimming together in a pack.

 

narwhals

 

Narwhals do not have any teeth, so they have a most interesting way of eating.

These mammals swim toward their prey and then suck them into their mouths with a great amount of force. They feed on halibut, polar cod, squid, and shrimp.

 

narwhal

 

The approximate age of a narwhal can be determined by its color.

Babies are a blue-gray color, juveniles turn blue-black, mature adults are like a mottled gray, and senior narwhals are completely white.

 

narwhals

 

About every three years, female narwhals give birth to a new calf.

Pregnancy lasts about fourteen months and babies are always born in the spring. Mothers produce milk for their babies who need this nourishment for the first twenty months of their lives.

 

narwhal

 

There's a good reason why so little is really known or understood about narwhals.

Only very rare sightings have been reported because they live far north in the most remote and coldest part of the ocean. Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic photographer who grew up in an arctic region, spent ten years before ultimately finding these mysterious whales. 

 

narwhal

 

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