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.
Interesting facts about whales:
People are bitten by venomous snakes all over the world. In the U.S., there are about 8,000 venomous snake bites per year but they result in only five deaths. Of the 45,000 snake bites total, only 18% are from venomous snakes.
- 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. The sperm whale sets the record at ninety minutes, while most other species only stay under for thirty five minutes.
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.