N is for Narwhal Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals

Narwhal Facts

A-Z Collection of Cool Animals Challenge

A-Z Collection of Cool Animals April 2015 Challenge

Narwhal Facts: The sword-like tusk

I really hope you enjoy reading these narwhal facts as much as I enjoyed putting them together. I’ve seen pictures of these wonderful creatures before, but never really looked into them. They prove to be interesting, indeed!

  • The narwhal is a porpoise, actually, found in Arctic coastal waters and rivers. Some call it the “unicorn of the sea” because of its strange sword-like protrusion, or tusk. This tusk is actually a canine tooth that grows right through the narwhal’s upper lip! This is more prominent in males.
  • About one in 500 males narwhals has two tusks.
  • The tusk has many nerve endings. It is thought that this sensory ability may help in finding a mate.
  • Narwhals have only two teeth. The sword-like spiral tusk grows up to 8.8 feet (2.7 meters) long and grow throughout their life. Scientists are not certain of its purpose, whether it is used to impress females or to battle rival suitors.

Amazing, is it not?

Here’s a short video showing Narwhals using their tusks.

Narwhal Facts – Communication

Narwhals make beautiful sounds to navigate, hunt for food, and to communicate. They use “clicks”, “whistles”, “knocks”, “trumpeting” and “squeaking door sounds.”

CLICK HERE to listen to the sounds the Narwhal makes


Narwhal Facts: General

  • Narwhals are related to bottlenose dolphins, belugas, harbor porpoises, and orcas.
  • These mammals travel in groups of about 15 to 20 but groups 100’s and even 1000’s have been reported.
  • Narwhals are carnivorous and feed on fish, shrimp, squid, and other creatures of the sea.
  • Narwhals grow to between 13 to 20 feet (4 to 6.1 meters), excluding the tusk.
  • They weigh, on average, 1,800 to 3,500 lbs (800 to 1,600 kg).

N is for Narwhal Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

  • Narwhals make some of the deepest dives recorded for a marine mammal, diving to at least 2,600 feet (800 meters). Many dives reach 4,900 feet (1,500 meters). These dives last around 25 minutes, including the time spent at the bottom and the transit down and back from the surface.
  • Narwhals live in the Arctic year round, around Greenland, Canada, and also Russia.
  • The males become sexually nature at around 11 to 13 years of age; the females at about 5 to 8 years old.
  • Female narwhals give birth to a single young. Newborn calves average 5 feet (1.6 meters) in length.
  • Narwhals can live up to 50 years old.
  • They are often killed by suffocation when the sea ice freezes over. Another cause of fatality is starvation.

N is for Narwhal Facts : A-Z Collection of Really Cool Animals

Narwhal Facts : Status

Narwhals have been harvested for over a thousand years by Inuit people in northern Canada and Greenland for their meat and ivory, and a regulated subsistence hunt continues.

The current population of the narwhal is about 75,000. Narwhals qualify for Near Threatened under the criterion of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Sources for Narwhal Facts: National Geographic / Wikipedia

Image Credits:  {1}  {2}


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What is the most interesting think you learned about the Narwhal today?



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Jeanne Melanson

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4 thoughts on “N is for Narwhal Facts : A-Z of Really Cool Animals”

  1. Wow, I never knew their spiral tusk grew that long. This might be bad, but reading this reminded me of Melville’s descriptions of them in Moby Dick.

    • I have to confess that I can’t remember much about Moby Dick. Perhaps I should read it again? Anyway, I’m glad you learned something new today! That’s what I’m here for. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog, read my post, and comment too! You’re the man. 🙂 Take care.


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