Beluga whales

Beluga whales are marine mammals from the odontoceti group; cetaceans with teeth. They are characterised by the white colour of their skin, which allows them to camouflage themselves among the blocks of ice.

Where to find them?

The only family of beluga whales in Europe is found in the Arctic area of Oceanogràfic.

General aspects

They are born grey and take on their final white colour between five and twelve years old, although in some cases the grey colouring on the edge of their fins persists. The dorsal fin has disappeared, and in its place there is only a small hump or crest, which does not bother them when swimming under the ice: they use it to strike the ice floes to open holes through which they can approach the spiracle and breathe.

Thanks to their thick layer of fat, they withstand the low temperatures of Arctic and Sub-Arctic waters. As they do not require very deep waters, it is common to see their white crests near the surface.

Their weight reaches 1,500 kilograms as adults, and their length reaches between 3 and 5 metres.

The head of the beluga whale is actually small compared with their body. The layout of unfused cervical vertebrae gives them great neck mobility. Their facial musculature allows them to gesticulate expressively.

If these marine mammals are notable for anything, it is for the large repertoire of vocalisations that they emit. Due to this they are also known as “sea canaries”.

What do they feed on?

Beluga whales usually feed on fish, molluscs, cephalopods and crustaceans.

Did you know...?

The name beluga comes from the Russian word byelukha, which means white.