Whales can be found throughout the world’s oceans, and they have amazed us ever since we can remember. They can be found in the middle of our largest and deepest oceans or close to our coastlines, making homes in a variety of habitats. Evolution has seen different species of whales develop some very interesting characteristics over time. Some have evolved to become among the largest animals that have ever lived on our planet. Others have evolved to live in the icy conditions of our coldest oceans. Some have evolved to be really quite unique indeed.
One such whale is the beluga whale. Known for their big smiles, strangely shaped heads and pure white color, they are instantly recognizable. They make their home among the icebergs and ice floes of the Arctic where they live in close-knit family groups. They are a lot smaller than most other whales, measuring around 13 to 20 feet in length.
Living in a climate with such extreme conditions requires some extreme solutions, and the beluga whale has evolved some very fascinating characteristics as a result. Beluga whales are beautiful animals that live amazing lives, and there are many incredible facts to be learned about them.
Beluga Whale Fact #1: Changeable Head Shape
Among other things, beluga whales are well known for the prominent bulbous bump on their foreheads, which is not there only to make the whale appear amusing to us. The bumps are known as melons, which is how they get their nickname ‘melonheads’, and are thought to be very useful to beluga whales. It is believed that the bumps may actually help them with echo-location, a form of underwater radar that helps beluga whales to navigate and to find food. Similar bumps can be found in other species of toothed whales, although it tends to be more prominent in the beluga whale.
The melon is made up of a soft fatty substance and can easily change shape. Beluga whales can change the shape of their melons by blowing air around their sinuses and this phenomenon is visibly noticeable when they are making sounds.