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ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index

Whale Extremes

BIGGEST
The biggest whales are the Blue whales. They are also the biggest animals that ever lived on Earth. The blue whales are BIGGER THAN ANY of the dinosaurs were! These baleen whales grow up to 110 feet long. THe second biggest is the Fin Whale.

The largest toothed whales are male sperm whales, which are over 50 feet long and weigh about 43 tons.


SMALLEST
The smallest Cetacean is Hector's dolphin, less than 5 feet long. Outside of the dolphin family, the smallest whale is the dwarf sperm whale which grows to be about 8.5 feet long (2.6 m).


LOUDEST
Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth! Their call reaches levels up to 188 decibels. This whistle can be heard hundreds or perhaps even thousands of miles away. The blue whale is louder than a jet, which reaches only 140 decibels! Human shouting is only 70 decibels; sounds over 120-130 decibels are painful to human ears.


FASTEST
The fastest whales are: Orcas and pilot whales, who can swim over 30 mph (48 km) in bursts in order to catch prey. Dall's porpoise may be even faster.

The fastest of the great whales is the Sei Whale, which can swim at about 23 mph (20 knots) in short bursts.



DEADLIEST
The deadliest whale is the killer whale, or orca. It is also the deadliest predator in the oceans. Each day, an orca needs to eat hundreds of pound of fish, marine mammals (including other whales), squid, sea birds, etc. They need to eat 3-4% of their body weight each day (babies eat about 10% of their body weight daily). They don't chew their prey, but generally swallow it whole.

Orcas are skilled hunters; they change their hunting strategies depending on their location and type of prey. They can hunt in pods, cooperating to circle school of fish or other prey to attack more efficiently.


DEEPEST DIVERS
The sperm whale dives the deepest of all whales. It goes as deep as 10,500 feet (3,200) below the surface to hunt for giant squid. These dives last about 40 minutes, with a subsequent rest at the surface for at least 10 minutes.


MOST COMPLEX SONGS
Male humpbacks sing the most complex songs and are the noisiest whales. They have long, varied, eerie, and beautiful songs that include recognizable sequences of squeaks, grunts, and other sounds. The songs have the largest range of frequencies used by whales, ranging from 20-9,000 Hertz. Only males have been recorded singing. They sing the complex songs only in warm waters, perhaps used for mating purposes. In cold waters, they make rougher sounds, scrapes and groans, perhaps used for locating large masses of krill (the tiny crustaceans that they eat).


LONGEST TOOTH
Narwhals have the longest tooth, up to 7-10 feet (2-3 m) long.


BIGGEST BRAIN
Sperm Whale has the biggest brain. It weighs up to 20 pounds (9 kg).


LONGEST MIGRATION
The Gray whale migrates from the Arctic ocean (northwest of Alaska in the Chukchi Sea) to the Baja peninsula off Mexico, and back each year. They travel about 12,500 miles (20,110 km) each year, staying near the coast.


MOST STABLE GROUP STRUCTURE
Killer and pilot whales live in large, extremely stable pods. The pod contains many generations of whales that remain together for life. They cooperate in hunting, migrating and care of the young.


LONGEST BALEEN
Bowhead whales have the longest baleen. The bowhead whale has about 350 pairs of black baleen plates with silver-colored bristles hanging from the jaws. The baleen is very fine; they are about 175.5 inches long and 14 inches wide


EnchantedLearning.com
ALL ABOUT WHALES!
What is a Whale? Whale Information Sheets Anatomy and Behavior Extreme Whales Whale Myths Whale Evolution Whale Classification Whale Glossary Whale Activities Whale Index



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