What Do Narwhals Eat?


What Do Narwhals Eat?

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The narwhal, sometimes known as a narwhale, is known as the sea unicorn. These toothed whales are distinguished from all other marine mammals by a particularly big, projecting canine tooth, or tusk. Narwhals typically only have one growing tusk, although on rare occasions, two lengthy tusks have been discovered.

These whales, which are members of the Monodontidae family, can be found in the arctic, Greenland, Canada, and Russian waters. A male narwhal can weigh up to 1,600 kg and grow up to 5.5 meters long, not including their enormous tusks. They have a lifespan of up to 50 years but only mature between the ages of 5 and 13.

What Do Narwhals Eat?

Narwhals of all sexes, regardless of age, have the same basic food requirements. The few sea creatures that these mammals mostly eat are quite basic dietary sources. The following foods are favorites of these intriguing carnivores;

Polar and Arctic Cod

Polar and arctic cod make up 51–57% of a narwhal’s diet. This fish species dwells farther north than any other fish species and can reach to a length of 40 cm. Because of the naturally occurring antifreeze protein molecules in their blood, they can withstand extremely low temperatures, and they can dive down to depths of more than 900 meters without feeling uncomfortable.

The fact that this fish species can thrive in these environments is what makes it such a desirable food source for narwhals.

Greenland Halibut and Redfish

Halibut from Greenland makes up between 29 and 37% of the narwhal whale’s diet. This fish species can be found 500–1000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean.

They go by the name “flatfish” and have a somewhat peculiar appearance due to their flat bodies.


Beaked redfish, ocean perch, Atlantic redfish, and Norway haddock are other names for deep-water redfish.

This fish species lives more than 500 meters below sea level and can grow to a length of up to 70 cm. The vivid red color of this fish makes it simple to recognize.


In addition, narwhals consume cuttlefish or cuttles. This squid-like animal can grow to a maximum length of 50 cm and weigh up to 10.5 kg.

Due to their enlarged brains compared to their bodies, cuttlefish are regarded as being exceptionally intelligent.


The majority of whale species, including narwhals, eat shrimp. Shrimp is a relatively simple meal to catch this manner since they are so little and swim in such large swarms, and much of the food they collect is absorbed into their mouths.

Armhook squid

Since armhook squid also lives in the icy locations where narwhals do, it makes for another delectable lunch for them. Males of this species of squid can grow up to 20 cm in length at their maximum.

Diet Variations

Other fish and foods that narwhals may consume include wolfish, capelin, skate eggs, and other squid species. However, these foods are not their primary source of nutrition. Although it is thought that these whales mistakenly ingested these rocks while hunting, researchers who analyzed these wails also discovered rocks in the stomachs of several of these whales.

How Do Narwhals Feed?

How Do Narwhals Feed?

How Much Does A Narwhal Eat A Day?

Given their size, narwhals require a substantial amount of food to maintain their nutritional needs. An adult narwhal will often consume 30 kilogram of food per day. This whale is thought to hunt in packs and will stealthily approach its target before snatching it up in its teeth.

What do Baby Narwhals Eat?

One baby can only be born to a narwhal at a time. A baby narwhal, known as a calf, must remain with its mother so that she can nurse it for more than a year. When calves are young, their moms teach them how to hunt, and by the time they are a year old, they are completely weaned and ready to hunt for food on their own.

What Is A Narwhal’s Horn Used For?

The majority of people think that long tusks are used to stab meals. But according to recent research, narwhals use this tusk as a sensory organ to pick up on environmental changes.

The majority of narwhals that develop tusks are males. Only 15% of females have tusks as well.

These whales are said to be able to detect the salinity of the water, which aids them in finding food or in predicting when the ice will freeze so they may leave an area before becoming stranded.

The tusks of narwhals are also used for hunting. It is simpler for them to catch food since they can hit the upper side of a fish head with their tusks. However, body scars indicate that males frequently use their tusks for jousting.

What Are Narwhals Predators?

There are several predators for these whales. Their main predators are polar bears, orcas, and humans.

In order to safeguard the species, it is against the law for some civilizations to export the food they harvest from narwhals. These majestic creatures are killed by humans for their meat, fat, and ivory found in their tusks.

The majority of the time, polar bears stalk young narwhals by waiting for them at ice-breathing holes.

Conversely, orcas can hunt these smaller whales by cooperating as a team.

Are Narwhals Dangerous?

Are Narwhals Dangerous?

One of the most gorgeous creatures to be found in the deep oceans is the narwhal. They are gentle beings that deserve all the respect and safety we can give them. It would be a great tragedy if these threatened species went extinct.

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Are narwhals actually whales?

A narwhal is a toothed whale of medium size that can only be found in Arctic waters. Narwhal pod in northern Canada in August 2005.

Is a narwhal alive or extinct?

Due to the estimated 170,000 individuals, the IUCN changed the status of the species’ conservation from Near Threatened to Least Concern. According to Westbury, the narwhal may still be alive today since it had plenty of time to adapt in the past.

Are narwhals still alive?

Due to the estimated 170,000 individuals, the IUCN changed the status of the species’ conservation from Near Threatened to Least Concern. According to Westbury, the narwhal may still be alive today since it had plenty of time to adapt in the past.

Are narwhals friendly to humans?

It’s doubtful that narwhals will ever be hostile or dangerous to people. They are not extremely amiable, though. There has been limited investigation into how narwhals react to human fishing and hunting activity.

How many narwhals are left?

There are an estimated 80,000 narwhals, and more than three-quarters of them spend the summer in the Canadian Arctic. The Baffin Bay and Hudson Bay populations are the two primary narwhal populations in Canada.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author