10 Cool Facts about Narwhals
1. Narwhals are often called the “Unicorns of the Sea” because of their tusk, which is actually a long tooth.
2. Most male narwhals have a tusk, while only some females have one. Some narwhals even have two tusks! Their tusks have over 10 million nerves in them and can be up to 9 feet long.
3. The narwhal’s scientific name Monodon monoceras means “one tooth, one horn.” Males have been seen crossing tusks and it is assumed that they are fighting for females or trying to impress them.
4. The narwhals’ tusks can be used for hunting. They use their tusks to slap and stun fish before eating them. Check out video footage of narwhals hunting with their tusks
5. Narwhals live in pods of 10-100 individuals in the Arctic, but have been seen in pods up to 1000.
6. Narwhals mainly hang out at the surface, but can dive down to 5,000 feet deep (1,524 m)
7. Narwhals feed on fish, shrimp and squid. They are suction feeders that swallow their food whole.
8. Predators include killer whales, polar bears, walruses and native Inuit hunters.
9. Narwhals can grow up to 17 feet long (5.2m) and weigh 4,200 pounds (1,905 kg).
10. Defenders.org says, “Narwhals might be more sensitive to impacts of climate change than the polar bear.” Threats to Narwhals include oil and gas development of the Arctic, climate change, and shipping vessels that cause collisions and noise pollution.