The blue whale is the largest creature alive on planet earth. Their tongue alone weighs as much as an elephant and their heart weighs as much as a car. It is amazing that this giant animal depends on small marine life for its food. It feeds on krill – very tiny shrimp like animals. One adult blue whale can feed up to 3,600 kg of krill in a day. They used to be present in nearly all oceans around the world that was until the start of the 20th century, when they faced extinction from whalers, who hunted them down.
Let us dive into the marine world and explore the 10 interesting facts about blue whales that might just surprise you
10. They Are At The Blink of Extinction
Before the hunters started hunting down whales, the blue whales were above attacks from predators and there was no threat to them at all. When the whale oil found use in product commercially, they have continually been hunted down to a point of extinction. Of late, there are laws which have been imposed to fine and imprison the offenders in order to protect the otherwise extinct generation of blue whales.
They have longitudinal pleats which can be expanded to allow it to take in a large amount of water with the prey in it. The water is then expelled and the prey is swallowed. It has between 55 – 68 pleats which can be visibly seen. They run all the way to the belly button. With this, you expect the mouth to expand up to 6 times.
8. Blow Holes or Nostrils
Blue whales have what is called blow holes and they function same as the nostrils. They are two in number, one on the right side and the other on the left side, making it similar to that of humans, breathing through one nostril most of the time.
7. Huge Lungs
It is a known fact that, blue whales can hold their breath for quite a long time. This is possible because, 90 percent of the inhaled oxygen used by the mammal and the lung capacity is approximately 5000 liters. This makes it possible for the whale to hunt for a longer time in the ocean. The breathing tract and food tract are separate, thus making it possible to hold the breath as the kill is being made.
6. Blue Whales Do Not Blow Water
If you have ever watched a movie about whales, you might have noticed them being depicted as spouting water all over through their blow hole. In a real sense, they do not blow out the water, what happens is, they exhale air, which is warmer than the water temperature on the surface, thus leading to quick condensation. That is what makes it appear as if the whale is spraying water. The water is normally mixed with mucus.
Blue whales are known to breach or jump high and land on water. When there is nearby danger, they thrust the tail out and slap the surface of water.
4. The Blue Color of The Blue Whale
When on the surface, the blue whale looks mottled gray, but when under water, it appears to be solidly blue. This is due to the microorganisms which live in the skin of their belly and gives a yellowish coloration to the belly.
During the feeding season, the krills tend to be on the side where the water is cool. This makes the whale to follow suit in order to have food. During mating time, the blue whales move to the tropical waters. The migration might involve traveling thousands of miles. During the feeding season, the blue whales eat and stock up extra fat to form a blubber, which helps them survive migration without having to feed.
2. Noisy Creatures
Though it is hard to hear them, blue whales are very noisy. They are the loudest animals on earth. They normally communicate through a series of low frequency moans, groans, and pulses. It is believed that, they can hear each other over a distance of 1,600km in good conditions.
Blue whales don’t have teeth. When it comes to hunting, they use their jaws. They have powerful jaws which contain bristles. They normally just swim to where the krills are present in large numbers and just swallow them together with the water. The tongue is used to spat out the water while the krills stick on the bristles. Once all the water has been discharged, the whales, then swallow its prey whole.
Now that you about the amazing facts about whales, why not share it with friends and family on social media so that they can be enlightened too. Knowledge shared is knowledge learned. Do it right away.