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Whales and dolphins are called cetaceans; there are over 75 species of cetaceans. Cetaceans are divided into two groups, toothed whales (which includes the orca, dolphins, etc.) and baleen whales (which includes the blue whale, humpback whale, gray whale, etc.). Toothed whales are fast swimmers, and eat fish and other marine animals, finding them using ____________________________ (a series of whistles and clicks used to sense objects) and using their teeth to catch their prey. Baleen whales are slow swimmers that eat tiny organisms, sieving them from sea water using ____________________________, a comb-like structure in the mouth.
The biggest whale is the blue whale, which grows to be about 94 feet (29 m) long; this is the height of a 9-story building. Adult blue whales have no ____________________________ except man. This whale is the largest animal that has ever existed on Earth - it is more massive than any ____________________________! It is also the loudest animal on Earth. The smallest whale is the dwarf sperm whale which, as an adult, is only 8.5 feet (2.6 m) long.
Many whales are social animals, living in groups called ____________________________. Many species, like the gray whale, ____________________________ long distances each year, traveling from rich feeding areas to safe breeding waters. Some whales jump high out of the water, slapping the surface on the way down -- this is called breaching. ____________________________ is an activity in which the whale pokes it head out of the water and spins around. Lobtailing is when a whale sticks its ________________________ out of the water and then slaps the water, making a very loud sound. ____________________________ is when a whale floats at the surface of the water, motionless.
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