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8 Interesting Stories And Facts About Belugas

Nobelle Borines

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  • Beluga whales are some of the smartest marine animals in the world today.
  • These white whales can actually learn other languages, including human speech.
  • One truly special beluga once told a diver that was in his tank to “get out.”

The beluga whale is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating marine creatures out there in the oceans. It is known for its distinct white body, high-pitched calls, and lack of dorsal fin. However, belugas are best remembered by people for their love of blowing bubbles and friendly personality.

There is no shortage of funny beluga videos on the internet and a lot of people could probably tell you a funny tale about their meeting with one of the white whales at an aquarium. On the other hand, there are some truly interesting things about belugas that will astound you. Here are just 8 fascinating stories and facts about beluga whales.

#1. The Thames Visitor

Belugas usually live in the Arctic ocean but one unusual subadult decided to pay a visit to the United Kingdom. Benny the beluga was first spotted in the River Thames back in 2018 where he attracted hundreds of fans.

It is unclear how Benny ended up in the Thames but he certainly enjoyed it there, staying for several months. The Port of London Authority (PLA) even went as far as giving the whale the right of way and telling all vessels to watch out for the visitor.

#2. The Beluga Retirement Home

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A pair of belugas became the first residents at an oceanic animal retirement home in Iceland. Little Grey and Little White were born in captivity at a Chinese water park where they spent several years of their life entertaining visitors.

The open sea haven for whales and dolphins was created by a conservation group called Sea Life Trust. Both belugas underwent survival training before being released at their new home close to the island of Heimaey.

#3. Belugas And Cat Poop

Scientists were baffled when around 34 belugas died in Canada’s St. Lawrence Estuary between 2009 and 2012. However, they may have found the culprit when they examined the hearts and brains of the deceased animals.

The organs were positive for a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which causes toxoplasmosis. T. gondii is a common cat parasite that can spread to other species, usually through contact with feline feces.

#4. The Horned ‘Beluga’

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One of the most heartwarming stories about belugas involves an animal that isn’t actually a white whale. A lonely narwhal was somehow adopted by a pod of belugas in Quebec’s St. Lawrence River.

It is unclear how the narwhal ended up becoming a part of the family but he is evidently trying to fit in. The narwhal has been seen blowing bubbles just like his adoptive brothers and sisters.

#5. A Bilingual Beluga?

Marine mammals have their own language, so dolphins speak “dolphin” while belugas speak “beluga.” However, one exceptional beluga has proven they can also learn other languages.

In 2013, a beluga was added to Dolphinarium Koktebel in Crimea and was initially ignored by the dolphins. However, the beluga slowly integrated herself into the group by learning how to speak dolphin. Unfortunately, her new family didn’t learn her native tongue.

#6. The Beluga Who Can Talk

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If you think a beluga that can speak dolphin is impressive, you’ve clearly never heard of Noc. The extraordinary beluga at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego could say human words like “out.”

Noc could reportedly adjust the air pressure in his nasal tract to mimic human speech. Unfortunately, the impressive beluga passed away in 1999.

#7. The Russian Spy?

Earlier in 2019, a group of fishermen in Norway were surprised to find a beluga who was wearing a harness. The whale was friendly, attempting to rub the harness against their boat.

The harness was eventually removed from the grateful creature and it was revealed that the harness had a camera mount and carried the words “Equipment of St. Petersburg.” It is believed that the beluga may have been used by the Russian military.

#8. Russian Spy Turns Savior

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Since we’re on the topic of the Russian spy, the beluga clearly enjoyed his time in Norway so much that he decided to stick around. It is here that he became the savior of a gadget almost lost at sea.

When a woman who was trying to get a look at the beluga dropped her phone into the water, the whale immediately sprung into action. The beluga dove down and promptly returned the device to its owner.

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