Do Beluga Whales Have Teeth? Let’s Count Beluga Teeth!

Yes, they have 8-10 teeth on each side of their upper and lower jaws. They are, on average, 34 in total. But the teeth are used more for grasping and tearing than chewing. Their teeth are peg-shaped but not long or sharp. 

When the whales are looking for food near the ocean floor, they prefer to swallow the food in small chunks that may not get stuck in their throats. 

How Sharp are Beluga Whales’ Teeth? 

The teeth of Beluga Whales are not sharp enough like killer whales. They use their teeth to break down large food pieces into smaller pieces. 

They don’t have molars like mammals to chew their food; rather, they are only that sharp to puncture the flesh of the prey. 

Do Beluga Whales Have Teeth? How many teeth do they have?

Earlier I mentioned that the teeth of Beluga Whales are 34 on average. They are interlocking into each other. 

The teeth of beluga whales are not very sharp rather; their teeth are conical in shape. They have teeth which are classified as homodonts.

These types of teeth are all the same in shape. Such a type tells that the teeth aren’t multitaskers. You would not find the upper or lower teeth different in shape, size or purpose. 

Anatomically, beluga whales have teeth which are less than an inch. They are not long enough and relatively small. 

Which Whale has the Biggest Tooth?

It is the sperm whale which has the largest teeth for a whale to have. The teeth are present on the lower part alone and the upper jaw has only sockets where the lower jaw teeth rest. 

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The teeth’ length ranges from 4-8 extraordinarily long inches. This length helps the sperm whale to hunt in the deep sea. 

Their teeth’ size helps them hunt sharks, rays and squids. The weight of a tooth of a sperm whale can be approximately 2.2 pounds.   

Do Beluga Whales Lose their Teeth?

Yes, they do. The teeth, once lost, are irreplaceable. The baby beluga gets teeth at 1 to 2 years, which are forever.  

Do Beluga Whales Chew their Food with their Teeth?

No, the teeth are not used to chew the food. The only purpose of their teeth is to pierce into the flesh of the prey to break it into small pieces. The whale sucks in food while floating in the ocean’s depth and then swallows the food. 

Also Read: Do Beluga Whales Have Knees?

Are the Teeth of Beluga Whales used to Determine their Age?

Yes, Amazingly, the teeth serve as an age counter for beluga. After they die, the tooth, when examined, would be found to contain GLGs. GLGs are growth layer groups. This is similar to the tree rings, which tell about the age of a tree. 

The downside is that the Glgs can only be studied after the whale’s death. Taking the age information of a living beluga is possible through genomic information. This DNA information is taken through biopsy darting by tissue samples.

beluga whale teeth

The growth layer groups in beluga whales are studied more consistently by a postdoctoral researcher Dr David A. Waugh. He has even gone deep into the study by determining the daily growth lines to prove that the GLGs are one per annum rather than 2 per annum.

See also  Do Beluga Whales Have Knees?

Do Beluga Whales Bite Humans with their Teeth? 

Generally speaking, they are friendly to humans. It is humans who are a danger to them. Beluga whales have no intent to attack or bite humans with their teeth unless they are harassed, irritated or scared by humans. 

They have a nature of getting close to people, touching them and even not caring for humans’ personal space. 

We must ourselves need to be careful while being around them. The presence of a trainer or security team is essential. 

Are Beluga Whales Carnivorous, Herbivorous or Omnivorous?

Beluga whales are omnivores. They are living on meat. Like all other predators or omnivores, they have features to support them. 

Their teeth, ability to suck in the prey and fast and speedy diving to the ocean floor help them to hunt easily. Their flexible neck helps them peek into narrow passages while foraging the ocean floor.

What Food do Beluga Whales Eat?

Their prey includes octopuses, squid, crabs, shrimp, clams, snails, and sandworms. Many fish, including salmon, eulachon, cod, herring, smelt, and flatfish, is also a part of their favorite diet. 

Zoology experts estimate that beluga whales eat 2.5% to 3% of their total body weight daily. This amount is 18.2 to 27.2 Kg. 

Here is a video to tell you that tells about trained beluga, which eats capelin more.

Conclusion

So say, beluga whales have teeth and serve the purpose well enough with their destined design. Their teeth also show that their food differs from killer whales. 

Unlike the other whales, chewing is not the function of their teeth. The shape and size of their teeth tell you better about it. Here is what you may know about beluga’s teeth. Keep learning new things! Stay updated!

See also  Are Beluga Whales Dolphins?

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