What Do Narwhals Eat?

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Narwhals inhabit the Arctic region and feed on squid, shrimp and fish, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Due to their prominent tusks, narwhals are nicknamed the “unicorns of the sea” and hunted by Inuit populations as an ivory and food source.

Narwhals are a type of whale with a distinct left tooth that extends through the upper lip, forming a spiraled tusk. Only males have long tusks, which can grow approximately 9 feet, but some females have a small protrusion, HowStuffWorks states. While impressive, this tusk is not usually used for catching food, and narwhals have no way of chewing their meals. They use this pointed tooth to intimidate other males during mating rituals and fend off attacks, discouraging large predators such as killer whales and walruses.

Narwhals are a social, migratory species and live in groups of 10 to 100, known as pods, according to Defenders of Wildlife. Adults grow as large as 16 feet and weigh up to 1.8 tons. They typically roam the coastal waters of Canada, Greenland and Russia, using a form of echolocation to communicate with fellow narwhals. Narwhals often travel beneath frozen ice during the winter and live by the shore for the summer season. These powerful swimmers have the ability to dive 5000 feet into the ocean.