Friday, 17 January 2014

WHALES: Everything about aquatic Hunk.


humpback whale drawing

  • Average Length: (Adult) 35-50 ft (Newborn) 13-16 ft
  • Average Weight: (Adult) 23-30 tons (Birth) 1-2 tons
  • Population: 18,000-20,000 (2002 figure)
  • Lifespan: estimated to be around 40 years (1998 figure)
  • Threats: Caught in fishing nets, human disturbance, and being tangled in marine pollution
  • The flukes (tails) have a distinct pattern on the underside, much like our fingerprints
  • The humpback whale breaches more frequently than other baleen whales
  • The Pacific humpback's pectoral fins are white underneath & black on top..
  • The Atlantic humpback's pectoral fins are white on both sides- which makes it easier for us to see them
  • While in their breeding grounds- the whales do NOT eat!
  • Some humpbacks feed in the Southern Ocean and go north to their reproductive areas!
  • Can stay underwater for 30 minutes but often dives for much shorter periods of time, usually 5 to 10 minutes
  • Humpbacks emit high frequency "clicks" reaching 30,000 Hz
  • The males produce, in frequencies between 20 and 9,000 Hz, songs that are the longest and the most varied in all the animal kingdom, with repeated sequences about 15 minutes long
  • When they are in cold waters, the humpback whale eats 2 tons of fish and planktonic crustaceans a day, in 2 to 4 meals.


Orca pod drawing
  • Average Length: (Adult) 18-32 ft (Newborn) 7-8 ft
  • Average Weight: (Adult) 2.6-9 tons (Birth) 395 lbs
  • Nicknames: Killer whale, blackfish, grampus
  • Diet: "opportunistic"- the orca is one of the ocean's top predators (see below)
  • Range: All oceans of the world
  • Threats: Capture for public display, hunting, pollution
  • The largest member of the dolphin family
  • There is no known case of a wild orca ever killing a human
  • Orcas stay in long-term social groups, or pods, for life (group size: 3-25)
  • Orcas can be reliably seen on tours around Vancouver Island, off Antarctica, Norway, and Iceland, and occasionally in many other areas
  • Orcas can travel at up to 34 mph (55 km/h)
  • There are 2 'genetically' distinct forms of orcas, known as "transients" and "residents"
  • A versatile predator and has one of the most varied diets of all cetaceans. It is known to eat anything from squid, fish, and birds to sea turtles, seals, and dolphins; it will even tackle animals as large as Blue Whales!
  • Gestation period is thought to be 12-16 months, with most calves born between October and March


Gray Whale drawing
  • Average Length: (Male) 43 ft (Female) 41 ft (Newborn) 15 ft
  • Average Weight: (Adult) 26 tons (Birth) 1,500 lbs
  • Nicknames: Mussel digger, hard head, devil fish, gray back
  • Group size: Generally 1-3; traveling groups can contain up to 16; hundreds can gather in good feeding conditions
  • Lifespan: between 30 and 40 years, but may even be up to 60 years
  • Gray whales are messy eaters
  • Only whale that is known to feed often in the sand and mud ("bottom feeder")... feeding on shellfish, crabs and worms
  • Each year, gray whales (only found in the North Pacific ocean) make the 12,400 mile round trip between Mexico and Alaska
  • The cruising speed during migration is about 1 to 3 miles per hour
  • Eastern Pacific gray whales, nearly extinct in the late nineteenth century, are now thought to number more than 20,000 (1998 figure)
  • Young gray whales are often 'friendly', coming to the side of boats and even lifting them out of the water
  • Pregnant females give birth to single calves just before or soon after arriving at the breeding lagoons; beginning in late December
  • Gestation period is about 13.5 months, with approximately 2 years between pregnancies


Blue whale drawing
  • The largest living creature on Earth!
  • The record appears to be at least 110 feet long and a weight of 209 tons (It was a female)
  • Average Length: (Male) 82 ft (Female) 85 ft (Birth) 19 1/2 ft
  • Average Weight: (Adult) 100-120 tons (Newborn) 2.5-4 tons
  • Population: low thousands (2002 figure)
  • Diet: Krill and Fish
  • Range: All oceans of the world
  • Lifespan: More than 80 years
  • Threats: Loss of food, pollution
  • A blue whale drinks 50-150 gallons of milk a day, adding about 8 pounds of weight per hour, or 200 pounds a day
  • At about 8 months of age, when the calf is weened, it can measure close to 50 feet long and weigh about 50,000 pounds
  • At sea, blue whales usually feed alone or in pairs, often widely spaced
  • A blue whale's "blow" can reach as high as 30 feet!
  • During the feeding period, a blue whale can ingest 4 tons of krill a day. They feed at the beginning and the end of the night at a depth of at least 130 feet (40 m).
  • Pre-whaling population estimates were over 350,000 blue whales, but up to 99% of blue whales were killed during whaling efforts
  • Blue whales have no known predators (other than humans during the whaling years)
  • By the 1950s, blue whales were endangered


    Fin whale drawing

    • Average Length: (Adult) 59-72 ft (Newborn) 19-21 ft
    • Average Weight: (Adult) 30-80 tons (Birth) 2 tons
    • Population: 100,000+ (2002 figure)
    • Diet: squid, fish, krill or other crustaceans
    • Range: Widely distributed... but less common in tropical waters than temperate waters, and the arctic and Antarctic oceans
    • Lifespan: 85 to 90 years
    • Threats: Noise from vessels & other underwater noice (which may mask their social sounds) and Chemical Pollution
    • Fin whales have been severely reduced by whaling, which continued in some places until as recently as the 1980s


    Minke whale drawing
    • Average Length: (Adult) 23-33 ft (Newborn) 8-9 ft
    • Average Weight: (Adult) 5-15 tons (Birth) 770 lbs
    • Population: 500,000-1 million (2002 figure)
    • Diet: Fish, krill or other crustaceans
    • Range: All oceans of the world
    • Threats: Target of commercial whaling, accidental capture in fishing gear, pollution
    • Lifespan: probably live for 40 - 50 years, but they are sometimes attacked by killer whales and can be at risk from collisions with boat traffic
    • Minke whales are generally solitary, although they can sometimes be seen in groups of 2 or 3
    • Minke whales are highly inquisitive and are likely to approach boats, especially younger animals
    • The species is still threatened by whaling, which still continues in the N. Atlantic and Antarctic, with an annual take of 500 - 1000 by countries such as Norway, Japan, & Iceland


    Sperm whale drawing
    • Average Length: (Adult) 36-59 ft (Newborn) 11-14 ft
    • Average Weight: (Adult) 20-50 tons (Birth) 1 ton
    • Population: Unknown
    • Diet: Squid, giant squid, octopus and fish
    • Group size: 1-50, hundreds may travel together
    • Range: Tropical to sub-polar deep ocean waters worldwide
    • Threats: Pollution, noise disturbance, caught in nets
    • Sperm whales have the largest heads in the animal kingdom (for males- up to 35 % of the body length)
    • Can dive to depths of 655-985 feet
    • Sperm whales can remain submerged for over 2 hours, but typical dive time is less than 45 minutes
    • Sperm whales have unique wrinkled, prunelike skin
    • The lifespan of sperm whales are thought to be 75 years or more


    Bottlenose whale drawing
    • Average Length: (Adult) 23-29 ft (Newborn) 9- 11 ft
    • Average Weight: (Adult) 5.8-7.5 tons (Birth) unknown
    • Population: Unknown
    • Diet: Mainly squid; also fish & other invertebrates


    pilot whale drawing
    • Average Length: 12.5 - 20 ft
    • Average Weight: 1.8 - 3.5 tons
    • Nicknames: long-finned pilot whale, Blackfish
    • Diet:
    • Range: cold temperate and subpolar waters of all oceans except the North Pacific
    • Population: unknown
    • Pilot whales are one of the most commonly mass-stranded whales
    • Young whales may breach, but this is rare in adults
    • Capable of diving to at least 1,965 ft, but most dives are 100-195 ft


    right whale image

    • Average Length: (Adult) 36-59 ft (Newborn) 15-20 ft
    • Average Weight: (Adult) 30-80 tons (Birth) 1 ton
    • Population: Northern ~ 300 (2002 figure)
    • Diet: Krill or other crustaceans
    • Threats: Fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes
    • Right whales were originally named by whalers because they were considered the "right" whales to hunt- full of oil and easy to catch
    • Southern Right whales sometimes raise their flukes at right angles to the wind and use them as sails, allowing themselves to be blown along through the water
    • Right whales often breach, sometimes up to 10 times or more in a row
    • The Northern Right whale is the most endangered whale in the ocean; about 300 in the N.Atlantic and possibly a handful in the N. Pacific
    • The Right whale's baleen is ~ 12 inches long!
    Shailesh kr Shukla

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