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Females start bearing calves at six to eight years of age. Adult narwhals mate in April or May when they are in the offshore pack ice. Gestation lasts for 14 months and calves are born between June and August of the following year. Like most marine mammals, narwhals have only one calf at a time. Newborn calves average 1.6 metres in length and are dark grey. While the newborn calves have only a very thin layer of blubber, the mother’s milk is rich in fat and a thicker blubber layer soon develops in the calves. Calves are nursed about 20 months. The lengthy lactation period provides calves with time to learn the skills they need to survive. Mother and calf are usually close, and when the whales are traveling, the calf remains close to the mother’s back, where it may get assistance in swimming.[7]