Most people will agree that the ocean is among the most mysterious places on Earth. Most of its depth remains unexplored no matter how much humans try to get a glimpse of its wonders. A creature that undoubtedly adds appeal and mystery to the ocean is the royal king of the sea—a whale!
These mysterious, intelligent animals are part of the Cetacean family. This means that despite being ocean creatures, they breathe air and produce milk like most mammals living on land. Whales also give live birth to their offspring.
Whale Facts to Make Your Kids Wonder
Whales are interesting enough just by their physical attributes. But this is nothing next to other interesting facts about whales! Read more to know what else is there to be discovered:
Courtesy of Ben Phillips
Blue Whales Are The Largest Animals Ever
You might picture a dinosaur when talking about the biggest animal to exist in history. So you might just be surprised that this animal is not found on land, in the air, but in the depths of the oceans!
Blue Whales are the largest mammals—and largest animals—on Earth. They’re even bigger than the biggest dinosaur ever in the world. They weigh over a hundred tons and extend up to 100 feet! If you’re wondering just how huge this is, imagine 30 elephants together or an estimate of 2.500 people all rolled into a Blue Whale!
You can expect their organs to be also massive in size. Their hearts are as big as a Volkswagen Beetle, and their tongue is the same weight as a full-grown elephant!
Some Whale Species Are Among the Mammals with the Longest Lives
The oldest Bowhead Whale lived for 211 years. On average, they live for more than 200 years. Killer whales live for more than 100 years.
But while whales generally live longer, we should still be wary of their welfare. Blue whales are already on the endangered species list, with only 25,000 blue whales left swimming on Earth.
Blue Whales Are Not Blue
Courtesy of Emma Li
If you are one of the lucky 1% who had the rare chance to see a Blue Whale, you can easily conclude that they are blue. After all, why are they named as such if they are any other color?
Do not be deceived by your eyes! Blue whales are mottled gray. They appear blue because of the ocean color reflecting on their bodies when they rise for air.
Whales Are Not Dolphins
There are differences between these two equally adorable sea creatures. And although dolphins are considered whales, whales are not considered as dolphins.
To name a few, whales are bigger than dolphins. Whales also have two blowholes for more lung capacity during their long migrations, while dolphins only have one.
Whales Have the Biggest Brains Among All Animals
Blue Whales are not the only exciting type of whale on Earth. The biggest brains on the planet are also from whales—this time from Sperm Whales.
Their large, unique heads contain a brain weighing five times as much as a human brain. Their brains weigh up to nine kilograms!
Whales Are Among the Loudest Animals
Whales are known to communicate through sound. But did you know that one of their species is considered the loudest animal on Earth? It’s none other than our friend’s sperm whale!
Have you ever heard of a jet plane taking off in flight? Their sounds are louder than that—so loud that they can blow out our eardrums if heard from a close distance! These sounds even have the power to vibrate a human to death physically. Given this power, Sperm Whales use this sound to stun their target prey.
Other than Sperm Whales, Male Humpback Whales also have specialties when it comes to sounds. They can ‘sing’ songs that can last up to 20 minutes in their breeding areas in winter!
Whales Can Lift Their Bodies Out of the Ocean
Courtesy of Pixabay
Whales might also want to be free from ocean water, given that part of all this water is their pee. A fin whale produces 257 gallons of pee in a day!
But even outside the depths of the ocean, whales are still wonders.
Humpback whales are among the most acrobatic large whale species. They can lift the entirety of their 60-000 pound body out of water. This is undoubtedly a sight to behold!
Meanwhile, Cuvier’s Beaked Whales stay the longest underwater and have the deepest dive among all mammals—up to 10.000 ft. deep!
Whale Poop Adds Nutrients to the Ocean
Humpback Whales can traverse as much as 10,000 kilometers yearly for their migration period, so you can just imagine the vast area they can cover—and the large amount of poop they leave on their way.
This is not a bad thing, though! Their waste products act as fertilizers for tiny plants in the ocean that produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Whale poop helps us indirectly!
If your child is extremely fascinated by whales, you’re not alone! Parents worldwide collect books and toys in honor of our whale friends, but you can take it further by planning a little study session! Here’s a whale-inspired activity by Proud to be Primary you can do at home.
Frequently Asked Questions on Whales
What is unique about a whale?
There are many unique things about whales, but one of the most interesting is their size. They are the largest animals to live on Earth. They can be longer than three buses parked next to each other. Even their hearts are larger than a small car!
Do whales cry?
If you define crying like how humans shed a tear, then whales do not cry. But they do have tear glands. These produce a liquid that will keep their eyes clean and free from tiny ocean organisms that might block their line of sight.
What do whales do for fun?
There sure are a lot of activities that whales can do underwater, but not all of them can be visible to the human eye. Researchers and marine biologists have studied some whale activities such as foraging, socializing, and exploring. Whales also have long migrating periods to look for mates and find their next prey.
How do whales sleep?
Humans might think that sleep is for the weak—but not for whales! They also sleep in the ocean for a maximum of thirty minutes. A little longer than this, they would already be at risk of dangerously lower body temperatures due to inactivity.
What emotions do whales feel?
Whales are highly social animals, so it is easy to believe that they are capable of more complex emotions like empathy. There has also been proof of the existence of spindle cells in their brains—providing evidence that whales and dolphins can feel such emotions.