Juno, the music-loving beluga whale that we introduced to you last year, enjoyed a tune this week played by a Santa-clad musician.
With the photo as evidence, there's little doubt that the 10-year-old male whale digs a groovy holiday tune. At the very least, he's curious about the melodic sounds and the people who are making them.
Juno, born in July 2002, came to Mystic Aquarium
on a breeding loan from SeaWorld Orlando in January 2010. He measures 11
feet, nine inches long and weighs 1,320 pounds. He also has distinctive gray circles around his eyes.
Kelly O'Neil, senior trainer of beluga whales at the aquarium, says that Juno is housed in a 750,000-gallon tank at the aquarium. He shares the tank with two females and another male. All can choose to investigate the goings on outside, through the glass window, or retreat to quiet, private areas. Those areas include
two back pools that are out of public sight.
O'Neil said the whales can hear what happens outside of the tank. Beluga whales tend to be curious and vocalize in a musical way, so the interest in human songs must be an extension of that natural behavior. On top of that, Juno is a particularly playful, inquisitive and territorial individual. If something is happening in his hood, he's going to want to know about it.
Videos suggest that Juno is especially interested in Mariachi music. He seems to be fixated on the accordian player in this clip.
(Image: Abigail Pheiffer)