Blue Whale

The blue whale is the largest creature on the planet and is larger than the largest of the dinosaurs. Female blue whales are larger than males. Blue whales have a long, streamlined body that tapers to its tail flukes. The head of a blue whale is wide and flat and contains 50-60 ventral pleats that allow the mouth of the whale to expand and hold more water.

This water is then pushed through 260-400 baleen plates that filter out food. The heart of a blue whale weighs about a ton and you could crawl through its aorta. The dorsal fin of the blue whale is only about a foot high and sickle shaped. The flippers are positioned about a third of the way along its body and are about 8 feet long. The tail flukes are 25 feet wide.

The blue whale is a slate or grayish color that lightens as you approach the underside. The underside is often yellow due to microorganisms that have attached themselves. Blue whales have a median ridge on their upper surface and two blowholes.

A normal dive will last 10 to 15 minutes and for feeding purposes is usually around 300 feet deep. Dives are separated by 8 to 15 blows. The spout of the blue whale can reach a height of 30 feet.

Food

The blue whale primarily eats krill. It takes approximately 3 or 4 tons of krill a day to keep a blue whale going. This amounts to approximately 40,000,000 krill.

Habitat

The blue whale can be found in every ocean on earth. It ranges from tropical waters to the edges of the polar ice caps.

Predators

The primary predator of the blue whale has been the human. Blue whales were killed to harvest whale oil. One adult blue whale could give 70 to 80 barrels of oil.

Social Structure

Blue whales are social creatures but are most commonly found in small groups of two or three animals. They will occasionally congregate in groups of up to 60 animals. Young blue whales will stay with their mother until they are weaned and will then join the normal migratory patterns. The blue whale is highly communicative and very loud. Its calls make it the loudest animal on the planet. They can be heard for hundreds of miles underwater.

Birth & Offspring

Female blue whales give birth to one calf after 11 or 12 months. Twins can happen but make up about 1 percent of all births. The blue whale calf is around 25 feet long at birth. They are weaned in 7 or 8 months and will be around 50 feet long.

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