Subject: beluga whale defense

roman (jroman@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU)
Wed, 03 Mar 1999 09:24:40 +0100

>I am working on a report for school and need additional information on how
>beluga whales defend themselves against their enemies.  Can you please help?
>JL

Good question.  I found three possible answers.  One is that their skin may
serve as camouflage.  Known as "white whales," belugas may hide among ice
flows, where predators would have a hard time finding them among the bright
chunks of ice.  This might help them evade northern predators such as polar
bears or killer whales. I have to admit that there is a problem with this
answer, however--young belugas are often dark gray, which would make them
more vulnerable to predation than adults.

Besides camouflage, belugas probably defend themselves against sharks by
avoiding them.  By spending most of their lives in cold northern waters,
belugas are less vulnerable to attacks by sharks, which are more common in
warmer waters.

And finally, like many animals belugas may find safety in numbers.  By
forming pods (or groups of whales), belugas reduce the likelihood of attack
from a single predator.

I hope this helps with your report!

Best,


Joe

Joseph Roman
University of Florida
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PO Box 12253
Gainesville, FL 32604
(352) 379-8096
jroman@ufl.edu