Beluga Whales

The mysterious beluga whale is one of our park's most sociable animals. Born dark grey, their signature white color is actually cool camouflage belugas develop by maturity, allowing them to swim in the waters of their icy arctic homes.

Nicknamed "sea canaries" by mariners, belugas are often heard before seen thanks to their unmistakable vocalizations. Instead of dorsal fins, they have a low dorsal ridge that lets them easily swim beneath thick ice sheets and find breathing holes; a pretty cool adaptation essential to life in one of the coldest regions of the globe.

You might also enjoy our Wild Arctic Up-Close Experience, a behind-the-scenes tour that features unique animal interactions and the opportunity to talk to the experts who care for them.

Take a helicopter ride or leisurely walk to the Wild Arctic® where you can view majestic beluga whales in a frozen research station.

Q: Where are belugas found?
SW: They make their homes in the Arctic ocean and its adjoining seas, including the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska and the Hudson Bay, among others.

Q: Are they endangered?
SW: In Alaska, about 375 beluga whales live in the northern part of Cook Inlet. Unfortunately, this population is listed as endangered due to its small size and lack of recovery from earlier hunting and other threats.

Q: What do they eat?
SW: Beluga whales eat about 100 different types of mainly bottom-dwelling animals like octopus, squid, crabs, snails, sandworms, and a variety of fishes.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: Males average around 11 to 15 feet long (3.4 - 5.5 m) and weigh up to 3,300 lbs. (1,500 kg).  Females grow to about 10 to 14 feet (3 - 4.3 m) long and weigh up to 3,000 lbs. (1,360 kg).