Narwhal | Facts & Information

# Narwhal | Facts & Information

Narwhal | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Narwhal

Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is part of the family Monodontidae, order Cetacea. It is a marine animal that lives all year round in the Arctic Ocean.

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The Narwhal - Mysterious Creature of the Northern Waters

The Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is a fascinating animal, also known as the "unicorn of the sea." This species of cetacean lives in the northern waters of the Arctic region and is recognized for its unique dentition, a long and spiral horn, which has generated numerous legends and myths over time.

When we talk about narwhals, the first thing that comes to mind is the male narwhal, as only they develop this distinctive horn. The narwhal horn can reach a length of up to 3 meters, and on average, it reaches a length of about 2.5 meters. In reality, this is a canine tooth that, in the case of male narwhals, grows in a spiral, piercing through the upper part of the skull and protruding outward. Although the horn may appear fragile, it is extremely resistant and can be used to combat rivals or to search for food.

Narwhals are migratory animals and prefer to live in the cold waters around the Arctic archipelago. These cetaceans can be found at great distances from the coast, often in the vicinity of large icebergs and ice-covered areas. The global population of narwhals is estimated to be around 80,000 individuals, making them a vulnerable and protected species.

The diet of narwhals mainly consists of fish and squid. They feed especially during the summer, when the surrounding water areas regain their freedom from the ice layer and are full of food. Narwhals use their sharp and twisted teeth to catch fish and to fight their predators. They can also be observed diving to great depths in search of food, reaching depths of up to 1,500 meters.

The ethology of narwhals is little known and explored in the scientific world. Recorded hunting devices have shown that these cetaceans are truly remarkable creatures. It is also estimated that the life expectancy of narwhals is around 40 years, but precise information is scarce, which is why further research is needed to better understand their behavior and lifespan.

Interestingly, narwhals are very sociable and live in large groups known as "adelphis." These groups can reach several hundred individuals and are formed either by male narwhals or by females and their calves. Females have a smaller crest and a rounder shape than male narwhals and do not develop a spiral horn. Together, narwhals create close bonds and interact through a complex language, using sounds and underwater signals to communicate during feeding and reproduction.

Another interesting characteristic of narwhals is their annual migration, which takes place according to seasonal changes. During the summer, narwhals move northward to areas with less ice and more available food. During the winter, they move southward to less cold areas and closer to the coast.

It is important to mention that narwhals face a number of threats in their natural environment. Climate change, pollution, and illegal hunting have significantly reduced the number of these remarkable animals. To protect these valuable marine lives, education and public awareness are necessary, as well as the implementation of appropriate conservation measures.

In summary, the narwhal is a mysterious and astonishing creature that has delighted and fascinated humans for thousands of years. With its unique horn and complex social life, these cetaceans remind us of the beauty and fragility of the marine ecosystem. It is our duty to protect this species by conserving its habitat and promoting sustainability in all aspects of our lives.










It was first seen in the waters off northern Canada and Greenland. It can be found in Arctic and subarctic waters near glaciers in these areas and in northern Russia. He is the only representative of his family.

Narwhal was called qilalugat tugaliit by the former Arctic inhabitants. They appreciated it more than walruses and seals because whoever managed to capture a specimen could feed his tribe for several weeks. At first it was believed that the narwhal had a horn on its head and was called the "unicorn of the seas". Later it turned out to be a tooth.

Leaving aside their unique appearance it is said that the Narwhal was the model of the famous unicorn so evoked in the Middle Ages.

Although it is related to whales it does not look very much like them. It is a toothed cetacean (odontocet), but it does not resemble the Dolphins or whales that we know because it is different, it is unique.

Stories and myths about narwhals that were dispelled by the English zoologist Ole Wurm in 1683 who made public the existence of narwhals. The scientific name Monodon monoceros means" one tooth, one horn " and refers to the two-meter long adornment.

The narwhal situation is a very delicate one. Mortality increases due to climate change and pollution. The sad part is that they don't survive in captivity. In freedom the number of narvais is 10,000 – 20,000 copies, or 75,000 copies according to other documentation.

However the number is small compared to the specimens that should populate the ocean. As far as I understand the Canadian and Norwegian governments still allow hunting of these animals.

In the literature it can be found under the name narwhal or narwhale.

Narwhal Food

The food of the narwhals is very varied. We can say that they have a very varied aquatic menu.

They quench their hunger with shrimps, Shoals, cephalopods, arctic cod (Arctogadus glacialis) or fish from deeper depths, such as Flounder.

Stones were also found in their stomachs which are believed to have been accidentally swallowed while feeding on fish.

One of the supposed feeding methods is getting close to the prey enough that it can be sucked into the mouth.

Appearance Narwhal

Narwhals have a maximum length of 5 meters and weight of 1.5 – 1.8 tons. Females are smaller than males, they do not exceed 4 meters and weight one ton.

Sexual dimorphism can easily be established, not because of physical similarity, but because only males have bone teeth. There is a chance that one in 500 narwhals will have two teeth. The tooth is located on the upper jaw and is twisted like a drill.

Due to the long tooth, a number of medieval legends of the Unicorn were born. The tooth can reach a length of 2m, is Bony, and weighs around 10kg. For male narwhals the bony tooth may have sexual significance. It is used to impose itself on other narwhals but also as a weapon. Only males have such a long tooth, in females it is much smaller.

For Eskimos (the correct name is Inuit, but they prefer not to be called that because it means "raw meat eaters") a narwhal is highly valued. Everything is consumed, nothing is thrown away. Skin and fat are eaten raw and are considered delicacies.

Bones are used for making art objects. Eskimos in western Greenland still hunt narwhals. The luck of the narwhal is that in the areas where it lives it is difficult to reach, otherwise it would probably be an extinct species. From his tooth people made, besides decorative objects or objects for various rituals and various weapons like harpoons or spears.

Their imposing appearance with a" horn in the forehead " led many to believe that it was a ferocious animal. The name comes from the Old Norse language meaning "corpse". They were wrong. Narwhals, despite their appearance and size, are withdrawn and shy.

Narwhal Behavior

Narwhals live in groups of up to ten individuals. Groups are formed according to age and gender. Males can be easily seen fighting on the surface of the water after long teeth.

Many believe that the tooth, or horn, as it is also called by some is the pride of the animal such as the lion's Mane or the peacock's tail because it is hardly used in fighting or breaking the boot. Maybe it's not caught very well at the base and can break, or maybe it hurts and uses it in extreme situations.

Although the tooth is considered a lethal weapon narwhals prefer to dive to great depths to escape attack by killer whales or polar bears. They are the only predators of narwhal. The polar bear is wondering how to get to its prey, if it has come close enough the narwhal is an easy prey.

They migrate following exact established routes. They spend the summer in shallow ice-free waters. In winter they prefer deep waters covered by large blocks of ice. They are known for their extreme survival.

They need to be careful about the water mesh that forms and closes from the glaciers on the surface. It's not hard considering he can hold his breath for almost half an hour underwater.

Following a study they impressed with the ability to descend to depths where other cetaceans do not venture. Narwhals make some of the deepest dives in the ocean. In winter it descends to depths of 800 meters up to 15 times a day. They were also seen at 1500 meters deep.

They use echololocation to create a "map" of the environment. The signals they send are so sophisticated that they can identify holes in the thick blanket of ice that covers Arctic waters from tens of meters away. These holes are vital because they need to breathe every half hour at most.

Many myths and stories are told about narwhals, but this is the most popular: "it seems that in the old days narwhals did not have a huge tooth. one day, a hungry woman tied her harpoon rope around the middle and kayaked across the icy waters to hunt.

After she managed to insert the harpoon into the body of a large narwhal, the woman began an unsuccessful fight with the powerful cetacean. in the end, the narwhal won the confrontation and plunged into the depths, dragging the woman after him. Then the woman turned into a narwhal, and her braided hair turned into a long horn. From then on, all narwhals would have their tusks so characteristic.”

It was the Vikings who came up with the narwhal story in medieval Europe. They obtained narwhal teeth from local fishermen in Greenland and sold them very expensive, more than their weight in gold. Wealthy Europeans believed that unicorn adornment cures any poison.

In the famous work "Natural History" written by the French naturalist Georges Louis Lecrerc, the narwhal is described as "a bloody sea monster, who does not hesitate to attack less powerful beings, defies all dangers, likes massacres, attacks without provocation, has no equal in battle and kills without seeking any use". Of course, all this turned out to be false.

Queen Elizabeth I of England paid for a chalice made of narwhal tooth the fabulous sum of 10,000 pounds, the amount with which you could buy a large mansion.

Those who see a narwhal in its natural environment are said to never forget it. Its rarity and uniqueness are fabulous.

Narwhal Breeding

Reproduction and birth occur in spring when food is abundant. During the warm period when the groups gather, the males establish their hierarchies. Narva is said to be a quiet and peaceful animal. Even if he establishes his hierarchies and fights for supremacy, he does it in a quiet way by flaunting his capillary adornment.

Tooth length is said to be correlated with potency in narwhals. The longer their teeth, the more potent they are. Males use their appearance to attract mates. The female reaches sexual maturity around the age of 5 years. It does not form long-lasting pairs, so in each spawning it may have another partner.

After the breeding season the females give birth, in the spring in April-May, to a single cub. Each female gives birth once every 2-3 years. The gestation period lasts 14 months. At birth the Cubs have a dark color, but with age their skin opens.

After birth, the baby follows its mother for a while, during which time it is fed with the fatty milk it badly needs in the northern waters. The baby measures 1.6 meters at birth and is dark gray in color.

The life expectancy of the narwhal is 50 years.

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