Whales are often seen as the gentle giants of the sea, and for good reason! These mammals tend to be enormous in size, although not all are as dangerous as they may seem. A humpback whale, for example, is one of the most interesting types of whales around. Check out some of the factoids listed below about these fantastic animals:
They Can Really Pack It Away
It’s usually pretty common sense that creatures this big must have to eat a lot, but not many know exactly how much these whales actually eat. Many types of whales, including humpbacks, live off of a type of fish known as krill. Krill are small fish which are very similar to shrimp, and humpback whales in particular need to eat about 1.5 tons of krill a day to survive.
Humpback whales are part of a family of whales known as baleen wheels, meaning they have curtain-esque filters instead of teeth. They use these teeth replacements when they swim through schools of krill, sucking in massive amounts of water as well as food. Occasionally, these whales will also slap the surface of the water with their fins, creating a type of shockwave that will stun their prey long enough for the whale to feed. When they return to the surface, they then push this water out through their baleen, which then leaves just the krill.
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Whales can be Impossibly Loud
While you may not think that an underwater animal could be loud — especially if you’re trying to think of the last time a fish made an audible noise! — whales can be impressively vocal. It’s commonly known that whiles often communicate through their own dialect, but it’s not often noted that their songs can be heard for up to 20 miles away. Keep in mind, that these sings can also last for well over 20 minutes apiece, with whales repeating the same song time and time again to communicate with other members of their pod.
They Like to Travel
Like many of us, whales have been known to travel across the globe, which explains why you may have seen reports of humpback whale sightings everywhere from the Arctic to Massachusetts to more tropical waters. When you understand that these whales move in speeds up to about 15 km an hour — with top speeds of around 25 km per hour! — it becomes a little easier to visualize how these mammoths can travel around the world throughout the year.
While we usually think of whales traveling entirely underwater, it’s important to note that whales cannot actually stay underwater for all that long. On average, they can dive to depths of about 200 meters, where they can stay for about 30 minutes. More often than not, their dives only last a maximum of 15 minutes.
They’re One of the Most Popular Whales Around
If you’re looking to see a humpback whale in their natural habitat, you’re in luck! It’s estimated that there are around 80, 000 humpback whales alive today, with the majority of the population located in the southern hemisphere. When you consider that the only predators of humpback whales are humans and killer whales, it’s easy to see why these whales have survived and thrived for so long.
While sometimes creatures this big can be intimidating, humpback whales really are the gentle giants of the sea — that is unless you’re a krill. These beautiful creatures communicate through song, travel the world, and have thrived over the past few years, which is more than enough to earn the respect of animal lovers around the world. If you’re looking to see these gorgeous creatures in person, just be careful to travel with a group of experts and never approach them while they’re feeding.