although it looks a lot like a unicorn dolphin, the narwhal is actually a little whale.

the males have the tusk, which is actually a modified incisor. very rarely will a female grow a tusk or will a male have two tusks. the tusk looks like wrung rope and it can reach up to 3 meters in length. it’s called unicorn ivory and in the middle ages its value reached a record its weight ten times in gold.

the average weight is 1,5 ton for males and 1 ton for females. they are not under threat of extinction and there are still areas where narwhal hunting is still going on, under strict rules.

when i was in japan, in the tiny town of uno, right in front of the train station, there was a series of sea creature statues, narwhal included. as uno is an inland sea harbour, i imagine the narwhal is probably inhabiting those waters. wikipedia says no but why else would the japanese put a statue of it next to the sea?

the national geographic has a story on present times inuit hunting of narwhals. click for many interesting though occasionally sad details.

narwhals are officially on my list now. i hope you like them, too. 🙂