Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whales Facts: What You May Not Have Known

By Andrew Keet

Most of us have seen the majestic whale either on the television or in a marine park. They are intelligent and magnificent creatures that roam our seas. Read on and learn some new whales facts!

Whales are large and graceful mammals that are part of the Cetacean family along with dolphins and porpoises. There are about 75 species altogether. Other than the manatee, this is the only class of animal that spends its entire life underwater. They are mammals and have all of their qualities, which means they breathe air into lungs unlike fish. The blue whale is the loudest and largest creature to ever exist at an average of 94 feet long. The dwarf sperm whale is the smallest at 8 feet.

Cetaceans are classified into two groups. These are toothed and baleen. Toothed predators use their peg-like teeth to spear fish and smaller marine animals. They swallow them whole after they find them through echolocation. This group consists of about 66 species. Baleen groups swim through the sea and use a comb-like structure to filter out food like krill. There are roughly 10 species of these.

This amazing creature has some very unique behaviors. Breaching involves acrobatic jumps out of the water for play. They also spy hop, poking their heads out of the water to have a look around. Lobtailing is when the animal sticks its tail out of the sea and then slaps the water to make a loud noise as a warning. A whale will also rest by logging, meaning they float on the surface with their blowhole up.

Do you know what the whale is best known for? It is not necessarily its size but its beautiful songs. They are spectacular singers, albeit loud! The singing can often be quite long and complex. It is not uncommon for a blue to sing for up to an hour. The music ranges from clicks and whistles to lower frequencies. They use this as a means of communication, for finding mates, and even for expressing excitement or grief.

This creature is truly amazing. They are totally unique to the animal kingdom. Hopefully these whales facts have given you some new information on these gentle giants of the sea.

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