lizbrownlee – poet

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N is for Narwhal

Narwhal oney

Liz Brownlee


Narwhals are a type of whale, related most closely to the beluga – the long horn-like sword at the front of the males is actually a upper canine tooth that grows spirally out through their top lip.

Scientists still don’t really know what they use it for – although there is one clip of film that shows males ‘sword fighting’ so it may be a way of establishing superiority prior to mating.

Long ago samples of their tusks were brought to Europe and people believed that they were unicorn horns.

Narwhals live all year round in the arctic and dive beneath the ice to depths of up to 1500m to reach fish – they are very vulnerable to climate change as they have such a specialised range and diet.


All material© Liz Brownlee

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve often wondered what their tusk might be for but it seems I am not the only one. If that is a tooth you certainly wouldn’t want toothache developing in it. Fascinating creatures and another great post.


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