Wildlife Fact Sheets

Narwhal

narwhal

Narwhal

Monodon monoceros

  • How Long I Live
    Up to 50 years
  • Where I Like to Hang Out
    I spend my time in the frigid cold waters in and around the Arctic.
  • Where I Live
    I’m not like other whale species. Many whales migrate from the Arctic in the winter, but I spend the whole year in the circumpolar Arctic waters of Canada, Greenland and Russia.
  • What I Eat
    Mainly squid, fish and shrimp

About Me

I’m one of the rarest animals in the ocean. I’m known for my distinct tusk, which landed me the nickname “unicorn of the sea.” But my “tusk” is actually a tooth! My teeth are very sensitive, and have up to 10 million nerve endings inside each one. All of us are born with two teeth, but they change as we get older. Males usually have one tooth that becomes much more prominent than the other, where females typically lose their teeth.
I’m a porpoise and am related to orcas, harbor porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. Porpoises like us travel in groups called pods. Narwhal pods are usually made up of anywhere from 10 to 100 individuals but sometimes our pods can number almost a thousand.

Did You Know?

I prefer to stay closer to the ocean surface, but I can dive up to 5,000 feet deep if I want to!

Likes

I may be considered elusive and mysterious, but not when you get to know me! I like traveling with my friends and family in my pod. I communicate by using a series of clicks and squeals. I also sometimes see the males in my pod “tusking,” or crossing tusks as a form of dueling or cleaning teeth.

Get To Know Me

References