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12 Interesting Whale Facts for Kids

Whales are magnificent creatures. They come from a group of marine mammals. They provide their infant’s milk, use their lungs for breathing, and are warm-blooded. They also have a little bit of hair. They live in all oceans. They travel around every year. Sometimes they travel in a group known as pods and sometimes they travel alone. 

Also Read about Warm-Blooded animals: Porcupine Facts For Kids

Whales are very active. A whale will slap the water with its fins and dive deep into the water. Their jump is very high. Their bodies go above the water and land on their backs when they jump. You will be awestruck if you ever get to witness their jump.

If you want to know more interesting facts about whales, read on!

Also Read: 10 Interesting Manatee Facts – Cows of the Sea!

Interesting Facts About Whales

Basic Whale Facts 

Scientific Classification: 

Whales have many scientific classifications. Balaenoptera, Balaena, Eschrichtius, and Eubalaen are some of them. 

Appearance: 

Whales

Most whales are hairless. They have a coat of fat that keeps them warm. 

Different Types of Whales: 

Humpback Whale

There are several types of whales. Blue Whale, Killer Whale, Humpback Whale, etc.

Size and Weight: 

Whales come in different sizes and weights. They can weigh from 20 to 200 tons. Their sizes can range from 45 to 100 ft. Whales are enormous mammals. 

Habitat and Range:  

You can find whales in a variety of environments. They can live in settings ranging from tropical to cold. Some whales live in both shallow and deep ocean environments. They live in all of the world’s oceans. Some whales can also live in the seas. Orcas and other whales occasionally visit estuaries. But stay close to the water.

Diet: 

Whales are carnivorous mammals. Whales do not eat larger prey. They feed on tiny aquatic creatures. They love to eat small creatures like plankton and krills. These are all nutrition-rich creatures. Some whales feed on giant squids and salmon too! 

Life Expectancy: 

The life expectancy of whales varies from 20, 40, to even 100 years!

12 Interesting Whale Facts 

1. Whales can hold their breath for 20 minutes 

Whales can hold their breath for 20 minutes

The whale can stay underwater for over 20 minutes! The whale known as the sperm whale has the strongest respiratory system. It can remain submerged for around 90 minutes! A Cuvier’s Beaked Whale holds a record for being underwater for the longest. It stayed underwater for about 138 minutes! 

Have you ever wondered why the whaled can hold their breath for so long? It is because they have high hemoglobin and myoglobin levels compared to other mammals. This helps them store more oxygen in their muscles and blood. Whales also can decrease their heart rate and shut down their organs. Because of this, they can use less oxygen and hold their breaths longer.  

2. Whale vomit is used in perfumes!

This probably sounds disgusting right? But it’s true! Whale vomit is used in perfumes. The wastes released from the whale’s abdomen are known as Ambergris. This helps in improving the Whale’s digestive system. This is discharged 100 miles away from the coast. It is initially soft and sour. However, after being exposed to saltwater and the sun, it turns out to be similar to a rock. This rock will have a wax-like texture and a pleasant smell. 

The ambergris is very expensive too! 7-pounds of ambergris can cost up to $50,000! This substance is costly because it is rare to find. Another reason is that it is difficult to find another replacement for a perfume base! 

3. You can tell a whale’s age with the accumulated ear wax

You can tell a whale’s age with the accumulated ear wax

Whales produce light-colored ear wax during the summers. The ear wax is dark-colored when they move from colder regions to warmer regions before winter. An earplug forms when the ear wax accumulates and becomes rigid. Scientists use the number of alternating colors of dark and light to tell the whale’s age. 

4. Whales do not sleep fully

Whales do not sleep fully

We all love sleeping, right? However, whales cannot sleep like other mammals because they will drown. Whales shut down half their brain due to their involuntary respiratory system when they sleep. They use the other half to be alert and control their blowhole. The other half also helps them initiate each breath. They usually sleep in a vertical or horizontal position. A sleeping whale also swims in a sluggish manner next to another whale. So, whales half-sleep. 

5. Whales are great singers 

Singing is a beautiful form of art, and whales love to sing! They are very famous for carrying a tune. Scientists have been trying to find out why whales sing. They believe that their tunes are used for several reasons. Some whales sing to attract other mates. Some whales sing to take care of and what over their children. Some whales also sing to locate prey or other food materials. Sometimes they sing just to communicate with each other. You can hear the melodies of a whale for miles. Their songs can last for over 30 minutes. 

6. They are fast swimmers

They are fast swimmers

You might think that because the whales are giant, they might be slow swimmers. But, they are known to be fast swimmers. Their use their tails in an up-down motion. This helps them reach a speed of over 30 miles per hour. 

7. They do not eat for almost half the year 

Whales are enormous mammals. However, they live about half a year without eating at all. They stop eating when they migrate closer to the equator for mating purposes. The water in the middle of the earth is very clear and transparent. This makes it impossible for them to look for small creatures like krills that they usually feed on. Whales choose this area for mating and giving birth because it is free from all types of potential predators. 

8. Whale tails are unique

Whale tails are unique

Whales have tails with flukes or lobes. Each tail is unique and distinct to a whale. It is just like our fingerprints! Like every human on earth has a special distinctive feature, the whales feature is its tail. These specific and unique tails help scientists and whale lovers know a particular whale’s species. 

9. Whales are intelligent and emotional mammals 

Whales are intelligent because they are born with large heads and very complex brains. This makes them one of the most intelligent mammals in the animal kingdom. Their level of intelligence is said to be uncommon in the animal kingdom. They are not just intelligent; they are also emotional. Just like human beings, they have spindle neurons. These neurons help humans and whales to feel complex feelings. This makes whales emotional mammals too. 

The whale’s intelligence helps them hunt, decide on a feeding pattern for their babies, and move around the ocean with their pods. 

10. Whales are the largest mammals ever

Whales are the largest mammals ever

Whales are the largest mammal to have ever lived on earth. They are even larger than dinosaurs! Blue whales are known to be the largest animal in the world. Blue whales are typically 25 feet tall and weigh up to 7 tonnes when birthed. If you keep three schools buses stacked back-to-back, they will be longer than this! 

11. There are two types of whales 

There are two types of whales called the baleen and toothed whales. The baleen plate is a layer of skin from the top of the jaw. It’s used to filter and purify saltwater for food. The toothed whale has one blowhole, and the baleen whale has two blowholes. The baleen whale is usually a large mammal. The toothed whale’s size ranges from small to large. The toothed whales have asymmetrical skulls. The baleen whales have symmetrical skulls. 

12. A part of the ocean is said to be whale pee!

Does this sound unbelievable to you? Well, it is true! A part of the ocean is whale pee! Whales also need to let go of their waste, just like other mammals. Whales can release between 166 to 257 gallons of pee each day. So imagine how much of the ocean can be covered by whale pees daily!

Conclusion 

Whales are intelligent and beautiful mammals that swim in our oceans. They are unique, and their presence makes the oceans even more attractive. They help in keeping the ocean fresh and also reduce climate change. How? Well, it is said that whale poop, when mixed with nutrients in the water, acts as a fertilizer for a plant known as Phytoplankton. These plants pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen into the air. See how helpful whales can be? The sad part is that whales are now very endangered mammals. Before they were hunted, there used to be 200,000-300,000 whales on earth. However, today we only have around 2,300 whaled today. 

We hope that this article has helped you understand whales’ uniqueness and their importance!