Beluga whales enjoys nothing more than blowing bubbles -
Beluga whales enjoys nothing more than blowing bubbles
Lovely bubbly! Beluga whales are the ocean's
cleverest creatures, but they aren't above a spot of fun.
With their white, plastic-smooth skin and bulbous foreheads, Beluga whales
certainly look extraordinary. And, as these pictures show, their behaviour
is just as compelling.
This one enjoys nothing more than blowing bubbles. First, it puffs out a
huge gust of air from its blow-hole to make a doughnut-shaped ring, then it
rolls underneath the bubble, kisses it with the tip of its nose and glides
over it. It's like an elegant underwater dance.
I can run rings round you: A beluga whale shows off its amazing breath
control for the camera at the Shimane Aquarium in Japan
The Beluga (the name is Russian for 'white one') is one of three living in
Shimane Aquarium in Japan. Their playfulness makes them popular with
visitors - of the 10,000 creatures in this aquarium, the whales are among
the biggest attractions.
And no wonder: at their shows, the trio dance, nod their heads in unison,
catch a ball in their mouths and jump through hoops. They can even blow
bubbles at the same time.
To accomplish all these feats, it helps that Belugas can tilt their heads up
and down and side to side at right angles - just like humans.
And while they chug through the water at a sluggish 2 to 5mph, their mental
power more than makes up for their slowness. Scientists don't really know
why Belugas - like their fellow marine mammals, the dolphins - are fond of
blowing bubbles and then chasing them. But it's likely that, just like
children, they simply enjoy messing about.
The Beluga or White Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic and
sub-Arctic species of cetacean. The Beluga is a highly sociable creature.
Groups of males may number in the hundreds, but mothers with calves
generally mix in slightly smaller groups. When pods do aggregate in
estuaries, they may number in the thousands
Some scientists have called Belugas the most intelligent creatures on earth.
But don't confuse that large forehead with a huge brain.
It is actually filled with a lump of wax, which is thought to help the
whales communicate. In fact, they are so talkative - using chirps, squeals
and squeaks - that their nickname is 'the canary of the sea'.
There are around 100,000 Belugas in the wild, swimming in the frosty Arctic
Ocean and its surrounding seas, and they can live for many decades.
Their size ranges somewhere between 13ft and 20ft, about the same length as
a minibus. And they weigh a hefty 3,000lb. Babies - or calves - are a
comparatively teeny 3ft-long and instead of having sleek, creamy-coloured
skin, they are slate grey and wrinkly until they mature.
The calves are also notable because of how much they love to lark around.
'Belugas are incredibly sociable and love playing in groups,' says whale
expert Philip Hoare. 'They're amazing to watch because they're always