Narwhal facts, toothed whale, endangered large marine mammal

Narwhal or Monodon monoceros is an oceanic mammal although it might look fish like, Narwhale is indeed mammal, just like an elephant or a house cat.

Narwhal mammal

Unicorn of the Sea
WhalesImage Credit

Narwhale is warm-blooded or endothermic and produces milk for their young among other mammal specific traits probably their most defining characteristic is their large long tusks at the front of their face, which has aided them in earning the name the unicorn of the sea. Their tusks are, in fact, a tooth that has grown through the narwhal’s upper lip and protrudes up to ten feet from their head.

Tusk of Narwhale

Narwhal tusk
Narwhal tusk Photo Credit

Well, this tusk is most prominent in males. This can be possible for the females to produce a tusk. The female’s tusks will usually not grow as long as a male. In rare cases, narwhals can have two tusks with their second tooth the only other tooth in their mouth protruding as well though not as far as the primary tooth typically.

Usually, the primary tusk is the narwhals left tooth and the tusk will spiral to the left in medieval times. Narwhal tusks were sold as unicorn horns. They were believed to hold special healing properties among other curative means ground down. Monodon monoceros tusks commonly called unicorn dust were given as a medical treatment to ailing patients and it wasn’t until the 17th century that this concept was refuted the purpose of a narwhal tusk is still up for debate in the scientific community.

Narwhal facts
Marine mammal Image Credit

There are a number of theories many with research to back them up for a long time it was thought that the tusk was simply a part of narwhal mating habits kind of like a deer with large antlers or a peafowl with long feathers. Since females generally lack tusks it was believed that the tusk didn’t benefit in our wall survival.

However, in recent years we’ve discovered that the tusk of the narwhal is full of nerve endings and is used as a sensory organ more research needs to be completed on this but one possibility is that the narwhals are able to tell the salinity of the water around them or basically how salty their environment is by means of their tusks.

Narwhal adaptations

Marine animal Photo Credit

Another observation is the use of the tusks to stun prey this had been described by hunters indigenous to narwhal habitats and there is now, evidence to help substantiate it we’re fairly certain that they don’t use their tusks for fighting but we have observed males performing a behavior called husking. In which they joust with this long pointed tooth but in a way in which the participants do not typically become harmed.

Well, it may be a beneficial adaptation there are still a vast majority of females surviving without tusks. Monodon monoceros are whales that belong to the mana density family and are closely related to belugas their scientific name mana dawn mono Souris. Somewhat appropriately means one tooth one horn but their common name Narwhal is thought to be derived from the Icelandic words for corpse and whale.

So narwhals are corpse whales does that mean we can call them zombies really thought it’s believed Gnarls was nameless because they appear modeled in color these modeled markings are pretty uncommon among whale species. So some thought that their dark spots looked like rotting flesh or something like that don’t know these old sailors with their fish stories and bad eyes first mermaids and now corpse whales.

Narwhals habitat & lifespan

Narwhale Image Credit

Narwhals can live 50 years in the wild but they don’t do well in captivity. This is made researching them more difficult especially since they live in some pretty extreme environments. Monodon monoceros is found in the Arctic regions of Greenland Canada Norway in Russia. During the summer they stay closer to shore traveling in groups called pods of anywhere between ten and a hundred or more individuals. During the winter they travel to deeper waters covered by pack ice it’s during this time they will stock up on food supplies favoring shrimp, squid, cuttlefish, cod, and halibut caught from the ocean floor.

Whale reproduction

Narwhals are able to die of nearly a mile below the ocean’s surface to find these tasty treats. Monodon monoceros also reproduce at this time a female will just eight or remain pregnant for up to 16 months and her calf will stay with her for more than a year nursing and learning. The ropes of nerve-like by the time a calf reaches adulthood. It can grow to be more than 15 feet long and that’s not including that insane tusk plus since narwhals live in cold environments. They need a lot of insulation so they pack on the pounds in fat and blubber a full-grown.

Narwhal endangered

Narwhal marine mammal
Whale Photo Credit

Narwhal can weigh almost two tons or put that into perspective 400 Chester’s well we’re not sure how many of these magnificent creatures swim in our oceans. There are somewhere around eighty thousand individuals though higher and lower numbers have been sighted because they require such specific conditions for living. They are greatly impacted by environmental changes just like the polar bear who shares their habitat while narwhals natural predators include these bears and killer whales.

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