Dieting & Eating Habits
Food Preferences & Resources
- Beluga whales are opportunistic feeders. They prey on about 100 different kinds of primarily bottom-dwelling animals. They eat octopus; squid; crabs; snails; sandworms; and fishes such as capelin, cod, herring, smelt, and flounder.
- In zoological habitats belugas eat approximately 2.5% to 3% of their body weight per day, about 18.2 to 27.2 kg (40-60 lb.).
Belugas are opportunistic feeders eating approximately
2.5% to 3% of their body weight per day.
Methods Of Collecting Food
- Belugas forage at or near the bottom of shallow water.
- A beluga whale's flexible neck allows a wide range of motion while foraging the ocean floor. Observations suggest that belugas can produce suction and a strong jet of water with their mouths which, like that of walruses, may dislodge prey from the bottom.
- Beluga whales also hunt schooling fishes. In groups of five or more, belugas herd fish into shallow water before attacking.
- Beluga whales don't chew their food; they swallow it whole.
- Researchers have found debris such as tree bark, plants, sand, stones, and paper in the stomachs of beluga whales, probably from foraging on the bottom.