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Whale Facts

Whales are the gentle giants of the sea. In the past, mankind hunted many species of whales so that they could use their oil and blubber for heating.

They killed so many whales that some species were nearly extinct.

Thanks to worldwide conservation organizations such as Greenpeace, most nations have outlawed the hunting and killing of all whales.

Whale Facts for Kids

  • The whale is a mammal.
  • Whales breathe air just like us.
  • Whales breathe through blowholes on top of their heads.
  • Baleen Whales and Toothed Whales are both types of whales.
  • One of the biggest animals on earth is the Blue whale.
  • Humpback whales and blue whales sing.
  • A baleen whale’s diet consists of krill and plankton.
  • Tuna, salmon, cod, and small mammals, including seals, are the main foods for toothed whales.

Types of Whales

Sperm Whales

The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales. 

The males can weigh as much as 50 tons.

They have the biggest brain of any animal on Earth. Their head is just over one-third of body length.

Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act protect sperm whales from being harassed or hunted, and killed.

An adult can eat up to two tons of food daily, three percent of its body weight!

These mammals can dive as deep as 3,000 ft. 

They can also hold his breath for up to 90 minutes while diving this deep.

Blue whale

The blue whale is the largest animal known to have lived on Earth. 

This magnificent marine mammal can reach up to 100 feet long and weigh up to 200 tons. 

A tongue weighs as much as an average elephant. A heart as much as a motor car.

Blue whale calves are among the world’s largest babies. They weigh around 8,800 pounds (4,000 kg) and are about 26 feet (8 meters) in length

Humpback Whale

The enormous humpback whale can grow up to 60 feet (18 meters) long and weigh up to 40 tons. They have flippers that grow up to 16 feet (5m) in length, the longest in the world. 

Its tail can grow as wide as 18 feet (5.5 m). The female of the species is bigger than the male, like most whales.

They are found all over the world, but the location depending on what time of year. 

Humpbacks typically spend the summer at high-latitude feeding grounds such as the Gulf of Alaska or Gulf of Maine. 

Warmer waters near the Equator are where they swim during winter.

Fun facts about whales

  • Whales are mammals and give birth to live young.
  • Whales breathe air and need to resurface from the water on a regular basis to breathe. They breathe through the ‘blow hole’ that is located at the top of their heads.
  • There are many species of whales but they are divided up into two types: Toothed Whales and Baleen Whales.
  • Baleen whales eat mostly plankton and krill (tiny ocean creatures similar to shrimp).
  • Toothed whales eat mostly fish such as tuna and salmon as well as seals and other small mammals.
  • The smallest whale in the world is the Blue whale. Although it is small, it is larger than the biggest dinosaur. Blue whales are part of the baleen whale group.

We may have heard about whales singing. These are the baleen whales and the most notable are the humpback and blue whales.

Their ‘singing’ is communication to other whales and scientists have found that they will often sing their songs in particular areas of the ocean that carry farther.

Whales travel long distances and that fastest speed is 30 mph

Whales have the ability to stay underwater for long periods of time.

Whales can’t sleep because they have to constantly resurface to breathe. However, they can rest which requires that only half of the brain is active to remember to rise to the surface.

Whale mothers are very protective of their babies. They will swim to specific areas of the oceans that are safer to give birth and remain there until the baby is strong enough to swim the long distances they need to travel for food.