Do Beluga Whales Have Teeth: Detailed Facts Around It


Beluga whales, or Delphinapterus leucas, are among the world’s most unusual-looking whales. They are members of the Monodontidae family and are also regarded as white whales or belukhas.

Beluga whales have teeth. They are toothed whales and are classified as Odontoceti. Belugas are found primarily in the Arctic Ocean, where they are the most numerous toothed whales. 

Do Beluga Whales Have Teeth
Image Credit: The belukha whales feed mainly on fish by Premier.gov.ru (CC BY 4.0) from Wikimedia

This post has been dedicated to investigating whether or not beluga whales have teeth and other facts about them. We’ll continue with our article by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about beluga whale teeth.

So, let us begin our journey to learn about the pearly whites of the “canary of the sea.”

Do belugas have sharp teeth?

We’re all aware that toothed whales use their valuable pearly whites for hunting prey. This necessitates that their teeth be razor-sharp.

The teeth of belugas are not as sharp as those of orcas or sharks, which is interesting. They aren’t even long enough. As a result, they prefer smaller prey such as shrimp, crabs, octopi, or snails that are easy to grab and can be swallowed whole.

Instead of biting their food, belugas suck them in. 

Do beluga whales chew?

We often assume that toothed whales use their teeth to chew food when we see their toothy grins. Is this, however, the case?

Belugas, like other toothed whales, eat without chewing. Instead, these whales prefer to suck their prey into their mouths and swallow it whole.

It’s worth noting that because belugas don’t have razor-sharp teeth, they don’t rely on them as much. Instead, they use their mouth to create suction to eject prey from the ocean bottom. To avoid being suffocated, these whales pursue smaller prey.

How many teeth do beluga whales have?

Image Credit: A beluga whale in an aquarium by Carol M. Highsmith (CC0 1.0) from Rawpixel

Beluga whales are carnivorous. Although they use suction to unearth the prey, their teeth help them to capture their food. So, how many teeth do belugas possess?

Beluga whales have 30-40 conical teeth that are homodont. In other words, all beluga teeth are the same type.

Because belugas have homodont teeth, they do not chew their food. Instead, teeth are used to break down larger foods into smaller chunks that can be swallowed.

What type of teeth do beluga whales have?

The teeth of a beluga are of the same type. But what exactly are the different types of teeth they have? Let us investigate.

Beluga whales’ jaws have relatively small peg-shaped teeth on each side of their mouth. They have 34 teeth on average, 8-10 on each upper and lower jaws side. Furthermore, Belugas’ teeth are irreplaceable. It means that if they lose their teeth, they will lose them forever.

Are teeth used to determine the age of beluga whales?

Image Credit: Baluga Whales at Mystic Aquarium by Carol M. Highsmith (CC0 1.0) from Rawpixel.

Marine scientists face a difficult task in determining the age of a whale. Nonetheless, they have devised some novel methods of carrying out this activity.

The teeth of Beluga whales are frequently used to determine their age. This procedure is mostly carried out after the whale has died. To calculate the age of a beluga whale, scientists count the number of dentinal Growth Layer Groups (GLGs) in its teeth.

Summary

To wrap up our post, we can state that Beluga whales possess teeth. However, their teeth are not as sharp as that of other Odontoceti whales. Still, they make their use to capture and tear larger prey. 

We hope you like our article and it has been able to enrich your knowledge base. Do not forget to share this with your friends and family.

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