The beluga whale, being named joingtly from "Delphinapterus" (meaning whale without fins) and "lecuas"(meaning white) is a pure white whale sometimes in fact sometimes referred to as simply the "White whale." There are only two members of the species, one being the "monodontidae," the other being the "narwhal." Aside from its color, it has other physical shapes that make it distinctive, including its size; this marine mammal is up to 15 feet in length and has a distinctively-shaped head.
In fact, the appearnce of the beluga whale is the most distinctive thing about the animal perhaps above all others, at least that observe it casually. It is not like the variety of dolphins or whales that look rather similar, the Beluga is thought to have a striking and unusual appearance that gets the animal a lot of attention. It is for this reson it is a popular exhibit in zoos and has been extensively studied both in captivity and the wild. This is how scientists know a lot about the Beluga and its behavior.
The Beluga whale is relatively small compared to other toothed whales but larger than most dolphins. Male beluga whales typically weigh more than females. Females can weigh up to around 2000 lbs, as opposed to the 3000 lbs that the males can reach. Baby beluga whales are usually born at around 5 ft long and weigh 80 lbs. The baby belugas are also usually born grey. Unlike most of the other whales and dolphins, the beluga whales vertebra in the neck are not fused together, allowing for a very flexible neck. In these whales' mouth with is called the rostrum, there are eight to ten on each side of jaw as a baby but by the time they are full grown they will have 34. These teeth are not meant for ripping or tearing beacuse the beluga whales swallow their prey whole.
Beluga whales are very sociable creatures. It would not be unlikely for there to be pods (groups of whales) theat number into the hundreds, while many large marine mamals either travel alone or in small family pods. But mothers with calves form slightly smaller groups. The beluga pods are not particularly stable, which means that the whales move from pod to pod. The whales are known for being playful with eachother, and much more unusual is their tendency to spit at humans. It is common for an aquarium handler to be sprayed down by one of its charges. Some scientists believe that this may be a useful skill to blow the sand to revile their prey.
The Beluga whales live in arctic and sub-arctic waters, especially along the coast of Russia, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. In the spring the whales move to their summer sites witch may differ between whales. They could be bays or estuaries or other shallow inlets. The only whale that might return to the same site year after year is a mother. As the ice begins to start to form is in August the belugas move away for the winter.
As many animals in the wild, their behavior is shaped by many physical necessities such as finding territory, a mate, and enough to eat. The Beluga whale is a slow swimming mammal that feeds mostly on fish. Some other things that they have been known to eat include squid, octopus, crab, and shrimp. While they don't have speed particularly to their advantage, they are expert divers. A hunting dive may go as far down as 1,000 feet but they can dive at least twice this deep. A typical feeding dive usually takes three to five minutes, but they have been known to be under for 20 minutes at a time.
As scientists study more about the the fascinating Beluga, both in the wild and captivity, they will know more about them such as their feeding and reproductive habits, why they have their unusual shape, and why they tend to choose their particular habitats. For the present, fortunately, many of us are able to see them for ourselves in the many zoo exhibits that feature the whales in their exhibits where we can see their feeding, their swiming, their breeching and other fascinating Beluga-whale behavior.