Vaquita Facts

Vaquita Facts
Vaquita is the smallest porpoise that belongs to the order Cetacea. It can be found only in the northern parts of the Gulf of California, in Mexico. Vaquita lives on a territory of 900 square miles, which is the smallest area occupied by a whale species. Biggest threats to the survival of vaquitas are by-catch (vaquita accidentally ends up trapped in the fishing nets), chemical pollution of water and climate changes that decrease amount of available food. With remaining 150 animals in the wild, vaquita is listed as critically endangered.
Interesting Vaquita Facts:
Vaquita is very small animal. It can reach 4.6 to 5 feet in length and up to 120 pounds of weight. Females are larger than males.
Upper side of the body is grey in color. Color fades toward the belly, which is white in color.
Eyes of vaquita are encircled with black rings. Lips of vaquita are black in color. Scientists believe that facial coloration may facilitate catching of food.
Vaquita has stocky body and blunt head without clearly visible beak. It has elongated dorsal fin that is slightly curved backwards.
Vaquita is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet consists of different types of fish, squids and crustaceans.
Since vaquita lives in murky waters, it cannot rely on the eyes to find the prey. Instead of eyes, vaquita uses echo-location. It produces high-pitched clicks that travel through the water and bounce off the objects located in front of them. Returned sound brings information about the size and type of objects and helps vaquita decide whether they are edible or not.
High-pitched clicks are also used for communication between vaquitas.
Besides clicks, vaquita produces very loud and sharp noise that resembles the sound of harbor porpoise.
Vaquitas live in groups composed of up to 3 animals. They are rarely seen in larger groups (up to 8 animals).
Vaquita is very shy creatures that can be rarely seen in the wild. These animals do not jump out of the water, do not swim close to the surface and they avoid contact with boats and humans.
Mating season of vaquitas takes place from April to May. Most babies are born at the beginning of the spring, usually in March.
Pregnancy in females lasts 10 to 11 months and ends with one baby (calf). Baby vaquita has 31 inches and 17 pounds at birth. Young animal depends on the mother during the first year of its life.
Vaquita reaches sexual maturity at the age of three to six years. Females produce offspring every second year.
Interbreeding is one of the greatest problems that vaquitas are facing today. Remaining animals mate with their close relatives, which leads to increased number of congenital malformations and results in creation of weaker animals.
Vaquita can survive 21 years in the wild.

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