Why Do Beluga Whales Have Big Foreheads? All Reasons

In this post, I will explain Why Do Beluga Whales Have Big Foreheads? Beluga whales are toothed cetaceans ranging between 1,100 and 3,300 pounds and are very tiny. Males can grow up to fifteen feet in length, making them larger than females.

Beluga whales have a large body covered in thick fat, a blunt head, small eyes, and a distinctive beak. Moreover, they have what is known as a “melon” on their forehead, which is supposed to aid communication and echolocation.

The melon of a beluga can alter shape by spitting air out of its sinuses. Melons can be used to indicate emotions; a beluga that is upset will raise its melon into an elevated position. Melons will become flattened or rounder depending on their nutrition.

The beluga lacks a dorsal fin and has only one blowhole, a forked tail. There are 38 conical teeth in its mouth. The seven neck vertebrae of a beluga are not cemented together, unlike most whales, allowing it to swivel its head in various directions.

A beluga’s fat, which can range in thickness from four to six inches depending on the season and the temperature of the water, keeps it warm in the arctic winters. The word “beluga” derives from the Russian word “bieluii,” which means “white,” according to etymology.

Beluga whales are frequently called “white whales” and may be easily distinguished by their alabaster-white color. Calves, however, start grey and gradually lose their pigment as they age. Because of their white skin, belugas can blend in with the Arctic sea ice and hide from polar bears and killer whales.

Why Do Beluga Whales Have Big Foreheads?

Moreover, they have what is known as a “melon” on their forehead, which is supposed to aid in communication and echolocation. The melon of a beluga can alter shape by spitting air out of its sinuses. Due to its anatomy, the beluga whale’s head has a massive appearance.

Why Do Beluga Whales Have Big Foreheads 1

Whales with “melon heads” are called belugas. Melons are a food item for other toothed whales. However, Beluga whales are a little unique. Since their melon hangs over their mouth, beluga whales appear to have larger heads than other whales. Their rostrum, often known as their beak, is noticeably brief but distinctive1.

The Beluga whale’s melon is an organ near the front of its head. Their brain is not inside their melon. Their skull protects their brain, which is further inside the body2. Although all toothed whales have melons, not all of them are soft.

What Do Beluga Whales Use Their ‘Melon’ For?

During moving, feeding, and communicating, beluga whales use their melon. The melon can alter the whales’ noise frequency. For echolocation, this is highly crucial. Whales and other mammals locate and recognize items via echolocation.

What Do Beluga Whales Use Their Melon For

This is accomplished by producing sounds and listening to the echoes they produce. Beluga whales are well known for their wide range of sounds. Beluga whales and other toothed whales utilize low-frequency sound to communicate with one another across great distances and high-frequency sound pulses to navigate and locate prey4.

Why Do Beluga Whales Have Squishy Heads?

Because of what their melon contains, beluga whale heads seem to be soft. Its melons are made up of lipids, wax, and fatty tissue5. Their melon becomes pliable and spongy as a result. The melon of the beluga whale is renowned for being incredibly elastic and pliable6. Above the rostrum (beak) and in front of the blowhole7 is where their soft melon may be found.

Can Beluga Whales Change The Shape Of Their Head?

The melon on beluga whales can change shape. The front of their head is where the melon is. Not all whales have the ability to alter the shape of their melon. A beluga whale’s melon is more malleable than those of other species. Belugas modify their melon shape to aid with echolocation.

Can Beluga Whales Change The Shape Of Their Head

They may concentrate and guide noises through the water by altering the shape9. Beluga whales blow air around their melon’s sinuses to alter their shape. Beluga whales are experts at using this bio-sonar system because they can change the form of their melon10. During vocalizations, their melon is known to change shape.

Is It Bad To Squish A Beluga Whales Head?

The brain of a Beluga whale is not directly touched when the skull is compressed. Farther inside the body, the brain is well-protected by a strong skull. Despite this, it would help if you didn’t touch or squeeze a beluga whale’s head.

Is It Bad To Squish A Beluga Whales Head

In popular images and videos, you may have seen Beluga whales showcasing their round, squishy heads. Even videos of people poking or squashing beluga whales’ heads exist. Please think twice before attempting to crush a whale’s head.

Beluga Whales Habitat

The Arctic and sub-Arctic shores of Svalbard, Greenland, Europe, North America, and Asia are home to belugas. Although they occasionally stray as far south as the Puget Sound or the coast of New Jersey, they typically swim in waters below 59oF.

Pods may spend the winter months along the coast of the extended ice pack in the open ocean or open water areas surrounded by ice known as polynyas. In July, the beluga will enter northern rivers to feed on salmon migrating to their spawning grounds. Belugas travel in pods of ten to thousands of individuals, though even bigger groups are now rarely encountered.

Beluga Whales Feeding Habits

Belugas eat a variety of foods. They eat a variety of bottom-dwelling invertebrates, shrimp, molluscs, octopus, squid, snails, crab, and various fish, including herring, flounder, and salmon. A beluga will eat roughly 50 pounds of food daily or two to three percent of its body weight. It is thought that belugas use echolocation to find prey. They often dive for food for three to five minutes.

Beluga Whales Behavior

Beluga whales are highly gregarious animals congregating in hundreds or thousands of pods during migrations and when food is abundant. However, they typically hunt and travel in packs of ten, led by a big, dominating male. The distribution of prey and the amount of sea ice significantly impact a pod’s migration. Belugas can swim at a speed of two to six miles per hour.

They can travel fourteen miles per hour for roughly fifteen minutes when necessary. Many belugas will go to warmer estuaries as the coastal ice melts in the spring. It’s interesting to note that belugas like to live along the coast since they can survive stuck on land until the next high tide and swim in water slightly deeper than their body.

The beluga whale has an incredible range of vocalizations. They whistle, click, moo, squeak, and trill. Many of these cries are audible to human ears both above and below the sea. Old-time whalers gave belugas the moniker “sea canaries” because they could hear them singing from the hulls of their ships.

The beluga has a wide range of vocal expressions, including smiling, whistling, displaying hostility with its bulbous melon, and blowing friendly bubbles out of its blowhole. Pods communicate with one another regularly since they are very gregarious animals. The sonar system used by belugas may be the most sophisticated and comprehensive cetacean.

Beluga Whales Predators

The white skin of a beluga is an adaptive characteristic that enables them to blend in with Arctic sea ice and hide from their main predators, killer whales and polar bears.

Beluga Whales Reproduction

Belugas normally give birth to a single calf once every two or three years. About fourteen months pass during their gestation. Calves typically weigh about 154 pounds at birth and give birth from April to September. A newborn calf has less than an inch of fat but quickly gains weight as it is nursed on its mother’s milk, which includes up to 40% fat content. Weaning occurs when children are 1.5 to 2 years old.

Calves are born grey and, after a month, change to blue-grey or dark grey. They turn blue after a year or two, then transition to a mottled yellow for the remainder of adolescence before turning pure white when they achieve sexual maturity. Adults moult once a year; before this, they often have a more yellow appearance.

Why Don’t Dolphins Have A Gag Reflex?

Terrestrial mammals need to be able to control the flow of food and air, but because cetaceans also ingest water with their meal, they must be even more vigilant. As a result, they have evolved a unique mechanism that keeps breathing a distinct activity from eating.

Why Do Beluga Tanks Looks So Small?

Beluga is far more mobile in many ways than other cetaceans and can safely manoeuvre in smaller places because none of their cervical vertebrae is fused. They also have much more mobile necks than other cetaceans. Although it’s a great adaption for living under ice, it impacts how pools are made for them.

What Happened To The Blue World Expansion At SeaWorld?

It was canceled about the same time the former CEO Joel Manby stopped orca breeding in March or April of 2016. Such remodeling would have enormously improved the welfare of the current resident whales. It would have included many more amenities than just “additional space,” like a shallow region with a rubbing beach and a fast-current area.

Why Do Marine Mammal Pools Look So Empty?

Because pelagic animals frequently spend a lot of time in open water, exhibit design has changed significantly over time, renovations are expensive and logistically challenging, and because it’s frequently simpler to use enrichment that can be removed, cleaned, or repaired than to install permanent fixtures that require a lot of in-situ maintenance, marine mammal habitats in zoos often appear empty.

YouTube video


I hope you understand Why Do Beluga Whales Have Big Foreheads? The prominent forehead of the beluga whale sets it apart from other whales. Its appearance has led some people to refer to it as a bump. Beluga whales have a soft forehead for everyone who is intrigued. Lipids or fats make up the majority of their forehead. To locate an object, they use echolocation on their forehead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are beluga whales’ foreheads squishy?

Belugas employ a melon-like structure for echolocation, which is why their heads are so soft. While melons are present in all toothed whales, they are always highly bulbous and protrude over the rostrum in the case of belugas.

Why do beluga whales have melon heads?

All toothed whales lump fatty tissue on their foreheads, known as the melon. It serves as a sound lens, focusing and adjusting the animal’s vocalizations. As a result, it plays a crucial role in echolocation and communication.

What is inside the beluga whale head?

The beluga, like the majority of toothed whales, has a compartment in the middle of its forehead that houses a melon, an organ utilized for echolocation and containing fatty tissue.

Do beluga whales like to be touched?

Experts who study beluga whales said the animals love interacting with people and that neither the animals nor the participants are at risk from the aquarium’s program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *