Friday, April 15, 2011

N is for NARWAL

Meet Mr. Narwal. He is a vertebrate that has a backbone and is a mammal since it gives birth to live young. He is related to walruses, porpoises, other whales and dolphins. His home is the Artic waters of the higher, north polar latitudes off the coasts of northernmost Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the polar islands near Scotland and Russia.

His diet consists of artic & polar cod, capelin, Gonatus squid, Greenland halibut, shrimp and wolffish. He is so picky that he only eats this variety and will follow them along their migration routes.

Only the males have the eye catching tusk which is actually a tooth that grows out of the upper jaw and from the left incisor. It can extend as much as eight feet. Tusks have been known to wash up on shore and in ancient times people called them cast off horns of the mythical unicorn.

The gestation period is about 14 months and the baby is 160 CM long at birth. Narwals commonly dive to 1,600 feet but can dive as far as 3,300 feet for 20 minutes.

Narwal's primary enemy is humans hunting them for food and to use their bones for art and equipment and the tusks become Inuit ivory. The Inuit of Canada and Greenland love the delicacy called mattak which is raw narwal blubber and skin. Other preditors are killer whales and polar bears. A very interesting fellow.


  1. When we think of the variety of wildlife on the planet it's easy to forget the denizens of the deep. As a boy I loved to page through books that had pictures of exotic fish including the ones equipped with lights that live on or near the bottom of the deepest trenches.

  2. Now that's certainly a creature I'd never heard of until now! Thanks for sharing this, Odie...learn something new every day :)

  3. My goodness, Odie, I do hope sweet Mr. Narwal will never ever pay me a visit. It's a, let's say, very interesting creature.
    Have a sweet Sunday!