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When people hear the word narwhal they think of a fantasy animal but that is not true.  Narwhals are real!  Narwhals have many interesting and surprising characteristics.  The best example of this is their three meter tusk that is actually a tooth.  This paper will explain what the narwhal looks like, their behavior, diet, habitat, and population. 

             Narwhals have many strange things about them, but the strangest thing is how they look.  Narwhals are mammals and they are in the monodontidae family with the beluga whale.  The narwhal has a speckled gray and black back with a pale underside that whitens with age starting at the belly.  They have small flippers that have an upturned tip and a C-shaped tail.  Narwhals are four to five meters long and males can way 3,500 pounds and females can way 2,200 pounds.

            The most distinguishable feature of the narwhal is the long tusk sticking out of their head.  The tusk is actually the narwhal’s one tooth that is an upper left incisor that grows through the top lip.  The tusk is spiraled counter clockwise and grows with age.  The male is the only one that has this tusk but females do have very short straight tusks.  The narwhals tusk can be three meters long and weigh 22 pounds.  The narwhal can occasionally have two tusks about 1 in 500.  Tusks are not used for killing their food or fighting each other and serve no real purpose but may be used to show each others dominance. The narwhal’s appearance is like no others. 

             The narwhal’s behavior is interesting and can be surprising.  Narwhals will communicate by clicking noises and hum like tones.  Narwhals have seasonal migrations.  In the summer, they migrate to shallow ice free grounds and in the winter they migrate to places that are under thick ice, deep, and offshore.  Narwhals mate in early spring and the female is pregnant for fifteen months. When the calf is born it is a dark blue-gray and it stays with the mother for two years.  The narwhal can perform deep dives of about 800 meters, fifteen times a day.  They can dive down to about 1,500 meters and stay under for 25 minutes.  Narwhal’s behavior can be interesting and surprising. 

            Narwhals have a specialized diet and may eat things that wouldn’t have been expected.  Narwhals will feed on benthic prey, small organisms that live on the ocean floor, Greenland halibut, and polar and Arctic cod.  They will also eat flatfish, shrimp, Gonatus squid, crabs, flounder, mollusks, and crustaceans.  Narwhals eat by sucking animals in their mouth with their strong lips and tongue.  Narwhals are predators and few things will kill them.  Polar bears and killer whales however are the only animals besides poachers and Inuit people that will kill a narwhal.  Inuit people are the only people who can kill a narwhal legally.  That is the narwhal’s specialized diet and their few predators.

            Narwhal’s habitat is very cold and is not a large area.  Narwhals are the most northerly whale and live in the Arctic Ocean.  They can be found in Canadian arctic and Greenlandic waters.  They will also be found in the north part of Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Baffin Bay.  They live off the east coast of Greenland to eastern Russia.  That is where the narwhal lives and it is very cold and a small area for a group of animals to live. 

            The narwhal’s population is affected by their location.  They are near threatened or close to being a threatened species because they are vulnerable to climate change due to where they live and their specialized diet.  Narwhals will swim in large packs often in thousands segregated by their age and gender.  The narwhals pack swimming makes a very easy target for hunters.  There are estimated about 75,000 narwhals in the world. The narwhal’s population is affected by their location and they are near threatened. 

            Narwhals are real animals with many surprising and interesting characteristics.  Narwhals are very interesting sea mammals.  This includes what they look like, their behavior, diet, habitat, and population.  That is why narwhals are one of the most interesting animals in the world.








Work Cited


 Burnie, David and Wilson, Don E. Animal. London: Smithsonian Institute, 2001


Forbes, Peter, Mackeith, Bill, and Perberdy, Robert. Sea Mammals NY: Torstar books inc.


“Narwhal” en. Wikipedia. org/wiki/Narwhal. wikipedia the free encyclopedia. 29 Feb. 2012 web


“Narwhal” Animals, Mammals. U.S.A: macmillon library reference, 1999





Comments (2)

olga said

at 12:41 pm on Mar 22, 2012


glenn said

at 8:10 pm on May 23, 2012

i love your wiki reid

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