As a result of climate, beluga whales vary in size between different populations, with 50% of their weight being fat, more than other whales, whose body is only 20% fat.
Beluga whale size can vary greatly between different populations of belugas. Climate is probably a factor in determining the body size of belugas in different populations.
Beluga whales are typically 4 meters (13 feet,) in length and weigh an average of 1,500 kilograms, or 3,500 pounds. Females attain their adult size at around 7 years of age and average 3.4-4 meters (11-13 feet,) in length and 500-1,000 kilograms (1,100-2,000 pounds,) while males continue to grow, achieving their larger mass at about 14 years of age. Males average 3.7-4.6 meters long (12-15 feet,) and 725-1,500 kilograms (1,600-3,300 pounds,) in weight.
Fifty percent of the beluga’s weight is fat, a marked increase relative to other non-arctic whales, whose body is only twenty percent fat.
Sources: (AMMPA, 2014, 2017; Balsiger, 2003; Kastelein, Ford, Berghout, Wiepkema, & van Boxsel, 1994; Katona, Rough, & Richardson, 1993; Martin, 1996; O’Corry-Crowe, 2002; Paine, 1995; Reeves, Stewart, Clapham, & Powell, 2002; Sergeant & Brodie, 1969; Williams, 2002)
Image: Tom Coates