Monodon Monoceros, or single-tooth narwhal, is the only representative of the genus Monodon from the Monodontidae family. These relatively small mammals gained their popularity due to their unique appearance, which earned themselves the title of "sea unicorn".
Narwhal was first described in 1758 by the Swedish naturalist Karol Linnaeus in his work "Systema Naturae".
The narwhal males are larger than the females.
The average body length of a female is about 4 meters, and males 4.5 meters.
A characteristic feature of narwhal is a spirally twisted horn.
It grows from the left side of the upper jaw. It can reach 3 meters in length and weigh up to ten kilograms. Female fangs are slightly shorter and smoother than male fangs.
Narwhal's tusks are innervated.
Scientists say that thanks to this they receive various types of information from the environment, such as temperature and chemical changes. It is not known whether this is a new direction of evolution or atavism.
It is estimated that 1 in 500 narwhals has not one but two fangs.
They live in Arctic waters, mostly off the coast of Greenland.
Narwhal, like all whales, cannot breathe under water.
They do not have a dorsal fin.
Currently, the narwhal population is estimated at around 80,000 individuals.
Formerly, they were an endangered species, due to intensive fishing. Currently, narwhal catch is unprofitable, thus their population quickly recovered. However, they are a delicacy of Eskimos people because of the skin rich in nutrients.
A narwhal gestation period lasts about 15 months and calves are born between June and August.
The narwhal's closest cousin is Beluga whale.
They travel in groups of 15 - 20 individuals.
Narwhal skin is very rich in vitamin C.
They change color with age.
New-born narwhals are blue-gray, young blue-black, adults are spotted, and old narwhals are almost completely white.
Narwhals can swim underwater with one breath for about 25 minutes.
The average life expectancy of a narwhal is 30 - 40 years.
They are being hunted by killer whales and polar bears.
They feed mainly on squids, shrimps and fish.
They do not chew the food, they swallow it whole.
Narwhal is able to eat about 30 kilograms of food daily.
The average narwhal weight ranges from about a ton for females to 1,600 kilograms for males.
40% of their body is made of fat.
Narwals are communicating thanks to echolocation.
We will not meet any narwhal outside their natural environment.
Attempts to breed narwhal in captivity ended with failure, because the animals die very quickly after being caught.
A huge threat to narwhal is the climate change.
Melting glaciers expose narwhal to more frequent attacks from predators.