The Beluga Whale

Let’s suppose you are a beluga whale. What is it like to be you?

As a Beluga whale, you are gray when first born. Your skin gets lighter with time until you are bright white. Being white helps you blend in with the sea ice. You swim easily right below the sea ice since you have no fin on your back. There is lots of ice in a healthy Arctic environment. Watch out for too much sea ice though! You need to come to the surface to breathe air. Too much sea ice can trap you underwater. [Read more…..]

You have a big round head. Since your forehead is shaped like a watermelon, it’s called a melon! You have soft, gentle eyes. Your nose is a nostril on top of your head—it’s your blow hole! When you breathe out, air and water rush out of your blow hole like a fountain. Your mouth is a shaped like a smile and it’s filled with lots of rounded teeth. You have excellent hearing though your ears are just tiny holes. You are the only whale that can move its head up and down and side to side. You can change your facial expression like people do.

Maybe you appear to smile because you play so much. Beluga whales are among the world’s most playful animals. In the wild, you have befriended people traveling in boats. You blow bubbles, do flips and spins and appear to dance underwater. You must enjoy moving your big, blubbery, agile body. In captivity, you get bored. Sometimes your trainers try to entertain you with music and circus tricks and plenty of fish treats. That seems to help, but you are most happy when you are wild and free.

You travel through the cold, icy waters of the North in groups called pods. Beluga pods usually have 10 to 25 members. You are friendly with other Belugas. You Beluga whales help each other. For example, if you are a Baby Beluga and Mom is busy, no worries. There’s likely a Beluga Babysitter (a female with no children of her own) to watch over you. Scientists say you have empathy. That means you care about the feelings of others.

Belugas cooperate or work together. For example, belugas cooperate when hunting by herding small fish together.

As a beluga whale, you do love to talk. Your language consists of clicks, whistles and calls. You make so much noise that people call you “Canary of the Sea”. (Canaries are little birds that chirp, chirp, chirp.) Sing your little song Baby Beluga, we love to hear you!