Think you know all there is to know about whales? You may be surprised!
Whales are intriguing and exciting, which is why everyone wants to learn more about them. There are some crazy whale facts you may not have heard about – until now!
Including all three whale (cetacean) groups: porpoises, dolphins and whales, there are 78 different species of whales identified. As a result of such a large amount of different species, there are some incredible (almost unbelievable) features and abilities that whales possess.
• Unlike fish, who can breathe under water, whales must breathe air. They are mammals, which means they must frequently come up to the surface to fill their lungs or they will drown.
• Surprisingly, the closest living relative to whales is believed to be the hippopotamus.
• Each lung in the humpback whale is the size of a small car!
• Unlike humans, humpback whales breathe voluntarily. Researchers believe that because they have to remember to breathe, when they sleep they only shut off half of their brain at a time.
• The blue whale is the largest animal on earth – EVER! This includes present and extinct animals and dinosaurs.
• They are over 30 metres long and weigh in at a whopping 180,000 kilograms.
• A blue whale’s heart beats loud enough that it can be detected from up to 3000 metres away and can be as large as a VW Beetle sized car.
• The blue whale’s mouth is big enough to fit 100 people inside. Its tongue weighs more than an elephant.
• Scientists have proven that while most bowhead whales have a lifespan of 60-90 years, they can live for over 200 years! Studies of the amino acids in their eyes suggest that the oldest ever discovered bowhead whale was 211 and it is speculated they could live even longer than that.
These amazing oceanic creatures leave us in awe with their acrobatic ability, songs, affectionate behaviour and unbelievable whale facts. It is vital that scientists continue their research into their habitat, migration and how they communicate with one another so humans can help with whale conservation.
Both children and adults are fascinated by these creatures of the ocean. With whale facts like these it is no surprise!