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Blue Whale

Blue whales are the largest


mammals, and possibly the
largest animal of any kind to
have lived on Earth. A 33-
metre long, 190-tonne whale
has been seen, but most are
smaller than this.

Blues were hunted to the


brink of extinction during the
20th Century, before being
protected in the mid-1960s.
The most recent abundance
estimate for the Southern
Hemisphere is 2,300 and
there is evidence they are
increasing annually by about
7%. There are no good
estimates for numbers in
other areas, but there is some
evidence of a population
increase in the North
Atlantic.

Status: Endangered

Blue Whale Facts


Some riveting characteristics distinguish the Blue Whale. The Blue Whale facts reveal a mammoth nature which is
enticing.

A Blue Whale is classified as an ocean mammal and not as a fish. The reason is that it is warm-blooded, inhales air, has
some amount of hair or fur and feeds their progeny with milk. As per a long-held belief, it is the largest animal to have
existed on the earth's surface. (The discovery of Amphicoelias fragillimus dinosaur may update this belief.) The
biological name of this ocean mammal is Balaenoptera musculus..

Blue Whale Facts


There are a myriad of Blue Whale Facts, which can be grouped as follows -

 physical description
 length and weight
 social behavior
 reproduction
 food
Physical Description
The Blue Whale has a long, tapered and streamlined body. The head's length is 25% of the body length. The upper part
of the head is U-shaped, flat and broad. The smooth body is almost free of parasites, though there are some barnacles
on the tips of the flippers, dorsal fin and the edge of the fluke. From the lower jaw to the navel, there are 55-68 ventral
grooves or pleats. The dorsal fin is curved and small. It's maximum length is 12 inches. The flippers are short and
tapered. The flukes are shaped like a triangle and are broad.

Length and Weight


The length of a full grown is maximum 33 meters or 110 feet and the weight is 181 metric tonnes or 200 short tons.
The Blue Whales found in the Northern hemisphere are 75 to 80 feet long. Those in the Southern hemisphere can be 90
to 100 feet long. At any particular age, the female is larger than the male. The male usually weighs more than 100 tons
and the female approximately 150 tons.

Social Behavior
The Blue Whale may be located alone or in small groups, but most frequently as a pair. Rarely, a large group of 50 to
60 blue whales can be noticed. This mammal is a fast and strong swimmer. Generally, it moves at a speed of 12 mph.
When it gets alarmed, it can accelerate upto 30 mph. The species can prosper in all oceans on the globe. During winter,
they change their habitat from tropical waters to temperate ones. Here, they can reproduce and give birth to new blue
whales. Feeding is possible in temperate, tropical and polar waters.

Reproduction
When the male and female of the blue whale reaches the age group of six to ten years, the male and the female
generally are of seventy four to seventy nine feet in length respectively. They then attain sexual maturity. The
pregnancy period is of one year. Offsprings can be born every 2 to 3 years. Just after birth, they weigh 3 tons and are
23-27 feet in length. They are breastfed for 7 to 8 months. In this span of time, the offspring drinks 379 liters of
mother's milk per day. It's weight increases by 200 pounds and length 1.5 inches per day. When the length becomes 52
feet and weight about 23 tons, the nursing process is ceased.

Food
The primary food of the Blue Whale is small and shrimp-like creatures. These are called Euphausiids or Krill. In
summer, the Blue Whale satiates its hunger by eating just more than 4 tons per day. The import is that 40 million krill
are killed by one blue whale per day. Initially, an enormous quantity of water and food is held in the mouth. Instead of
teeth, blue whales have baleen plates to process food, which is majorly krill, plankton, squid and small fish. While the
mouth is being closed, water is thrown out of the baleen plates.There are approximately 320 pairs of black baleen plates
that are 1 meter long, 53 centimeters wide and weighing 90 kg.The food gets locked near the tongue and is swallowed.

Blue Whale Special Facts


The size of the main arteries of a blue whale can permit a small person to crawl through it. Although a blue whale feeds
at a depth of less than 330 feet, it can dive up to 1640 feet. One dive lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. A Blue Whale can live a
life of 110 years. While this mammal is as huge as a Boeing Jet, its heart is just like a small car in size. It's tongue can
support fifty people. When this creature comes to the surface for air, the spout can reach upto 30 feet. The sound of a
blue whale may reach 188 decibels, making it louder than a jet, which is 140 decibels.

Blue Whales are not plundered by any living species other than humans. 99% of them were annihilated in course of the
whaling efforts and the species became endangered in the 1950s. One must arrest the desire to hunt a blue whale and
enable this colossal mammal to prosper and regain its pristine glory.