There is no excuse for not wanting to experience the world’s largest living animal – not to mention the heaviest and largest animal that has ever existed on earth. It is, of course, the blue whale. The blue whale can be experienced in all oceans, preferably in places where really great depths occur.
Facts about the blue whale
|Location:||In all oceans of the world|
|Life expectancy:||80 years|
|Weight:||95 to 200 tons|
|Size:||25 to 33 meters long|
|Quantity:||10,000 to 25,000|
|Fun fact:||The tongue of a blue whale is so large that 50 people are able to stand on it.|
The blue whale, with its enormous size, is hard to avoid noticing. The females typically get bigger and heavier than the males do. But on average, the blue whale grows to 25 to 26.5 meters long and weighs about 95 to 110 tons. The largest blue whale ever found was 33 meters long and weighed over 200 tons. The reason it is called the blue whale is because it looks more blue from above, due to the reflection from the sea. However, it is not completely correct. The blue whale is more gray-blue than its name suggests. Sometimes the blue whale can also get a more yellowish tinge in the color, this is due to diatoms, which grow on its body. From here it has also been nicknamed “sulfurbug” among whalers.
The blue whale’s head is large, and on the underside of the head and down towards the chest region it has between 55 and 88 throat furrows. The blue whale’s mouth contains 540 to 790 black beards, which can grow up to a meter long and hang down over the upper jaw. The blue whale can swim at a speed of about 55 kilometers per hour. The blue whale’s lung capacity itself is over 5,000 liters and the bladder (the water it blows out) can grow up to 9 meters high when it exhales after a dive. Blue whales do not have the same appearance. Blue whales in the North Atlantic are smaller than their species in the North Pacific and in the southern hemisphere.
The blue whale’s primary and preferred food is krill. Krill are a bit like shrimp and are sea-living crayfish. The small krill are sieved from the water, using the large one meter long, black beards the blue whale has. The blue whale’s stomach can contain up to 1 ton of krill. Krill are crayfish, which means they can emit light. It also makes it especially easy for the blue whale to spot these crayfish, which are located in large shoals where they are about 30,000 individuals. The blue whale picks up krill at a depth of 100 meters during the day and near the surface at night. These dives take about 10 minutes, which is convenient as it can on average dive for up to 20 minutes at a time. The krill or crayfish affect the blue whale’s feces. As the blue whale consumes krill in very large quantities, it happens that the blue whale’s faeces appear rainbow-colored.
The blue whale is pregnant for 10 to 11 months, which is every two or three years. The blue whale then gives birth to a calf that is 6 to 7 meters long at birth and weighs just over 2.5 tonnes. The blue whale can be compared to an elephant when it has just been born. The calf suckles at its mother for about 7 months, where it grows 16 meters long. From birth, a blue whale is busy becoming a giant, and therefore gains 90 kilos a day for the first 7 months of its life. This is equivalent to taking 4 kilos every hour. In addition, the baby consumes more than 600 liters of breast milk every day. Breast milk has a fat percentage of 40% and is thus as fatty as whipped cream.
The blue whale usually travels with 1 or 2 other blue whales, but it can also happen in feeding areas that there are far more blue whales together. The blue whale’s diving times, diving depth and diving sequence have a lot to do with the whale’s activity on that day. If the whale is very relaxed, it comes up to the surface, to blow air out, where each blow can last 2 to 6 minutes above the surface. After blowing, they dive between 5 to 20 minutes. The blue whale is usually approx. 90 meters deep, but can dive all the way down to 150 meters below the water surface to find food. Blue whales typically live in the open sea and therefore rarely pass through Danish waters, but you can experience them on Sri Lanka shrimp or when traveling to Borneo.. Especially because its primary food, crayfish or krill, is not found in Danish waters. There is a very small population of blue whales in the waters between Shetland and the Faroe Islands, where it has been shown that the animals stay all year round.
Overall, the blue whale belongs to the family “whales”. Under the family “whales” there are two subgroups, which are toothed whales and baleen whales. Here the blue whale belongs to the baleen whales – under the baleen whales the blue whale belongs to the fin whales. The group of fin whales includes the largest mammals in the water, including the largest animal that has ever existed, the blue whale. Characteristic of this family is that they are long and slender whales, with short beards, distinct dorsal fins and belly furrows. The family also includes whales such as the minke whale, minke whale and humpback whale.
Travelers’ questions about the blue whale
What is the difference between a toothed whale and a baleen whale?
The very simple answer to this question is are toothed whales have teeth and that baleen whales have bards.
Toothed whales are whales that have teeth. Most whales belong to this category, as there are 70 different species. Species such as sperm whales, narwhals, guinea pigs and porpoises belong to this group. The number of teeth can vary greatly depending on which whale is being talked about. Some have only two teeth, while others can have up to 252 teeth. Toothed whales feed mainly on small fish and squid, but some also feed on crustaceans and larger fish species.
Baleen whales have no teeth, instead they have two rows of barkers. There are 11 different species of baleen whales. It is the largest whales that belong to this category, namely the fin whale, the blue whale, the minke whale and the humpback whale. These bards are hundreds of parallel horn plates hanging down from the upper part of the mouth. The beards act as a kind of sieve that filters the small animals from the water. The baleen whales feed on small schooling fish, shrimp and in particular crustaceans (krill). Baleen whales have two breathing holes, whereas toothed whales have only one.
How to communicate the blue whale?
Does the blue whale communicate at all? And the answer is yes.
The blue whale communicates to that extent. Like other baleen whales, the blue whale communicates with powerful underwater sounds. These sounds are pulses of up to 40 seconds in length and are in a frequency range of 10 Hz to 150 Hz. In deep water, the sound is very deep, which means that people do not have the opportunity to perceive this sound. This sound can be heard hundreds of miles away in the open ocean and sometimes even further away for blue whales. This means that in this way blue whales can communicate with each other without us humans being able to perceive it at all.
Wild facts about the blue whale
- Blue whales take 90 kilos every single day for 7 months (4 kilos per hour)
- The sound of the blue whale can be heard over 100 kilometers away
- The blue whale can be 33 meters long and weigh over 200 tons
- Through its blowhole, it can blow water up to 9 meters above the water surface
- As one of the only fish underwater, the blue whale can reach a speed of 55 kilometers per hour.
- Blue whales have incredibly small brains. It weighs 6.92 kilos and thus constitutes 0.007% of the whale’s body weight.
- Blue whales can eat 4 tons of krill every day, and its stomach can contain 1 ton of krill.
- An adult blue whale gets 1.5 million kilos of calories every day. In a single mouthful, a blue whale consumes almost half a million kilos of calories.
- Blue whale feces are rainbow colored because they eat krill.
- Blue whales take large mouthfuls, and can have up to 110 tons of water in their mouths.