Some of the beluga whale's most distinguishing physical features are its white or light coloring and uniquely shaped head, which is broad and round with a big forehead. This whale primarily lives in arctic and sub-arctic environments.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, a beluga whale is capable of diving up to 25 minutes at once and can dive down to approximately 800 meters. The whale has 5 inches of blubber to help it survive and move through icy sea waters. Beluga whales have teeth, and they maintain a healthy ecosystem by eating common marine species, which keeps those population counts under control. Examples include shrimp, mussels, crabs, clams and snails.
Defenders of Wildlife notes that adult beluga whales can weigh up to 3,000 pounds and grow to be 15 feet long. Females generally grow to 14 feet long and weigh closer to 2,000 pounds. The average lifespan for the beluga whale is between 30 and 50 years. When traveling, these whales form groups with anywhere from a few whales to hundreds. Belugas typically stay close to shore or head out to the open sea.
The beluga whale can swim backwards and is known as being a very vocal whale. In fact, their vocal nature earned these whales the nickname "sea canaries." This whale can turn its head up, down and from side to side, as its neck vertebrae is not fused together.