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35 Interesting Blue Whale Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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Humongous, majestic and of course, endangered, Blue Whales are creatures whose beauty cannot be described by mere words. In terms of seniority on Earth, they beat the humans by a large margin. In this article, we are going to learn some interesting Blue Whale facts that will simply blow your mind. So, let’s get started instead of wasting time on a crafting a catchy opening paragraph.

But before we start, here is a quick table you might want to read:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Family Balaenopteridae
Genus Balaenoptera
Species B. musculus
Binomial Name Balaenoptera musculus

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Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 1-5

1. Blue Whale is world’s largest animal as of today. There isn’t a single animal on Earth today that has been identified to be bigger than a Blue Whale. Guess what? They are actually the biggest to live ever. This means that the biggest dinosaurs were of no match to a Blue Whale’s size.

2. Visit any ocean in this world and you will find Blue Whales. They however have a pattern. During the summer months, they are usually found in polar waters. When the winter comes, they migrate towards the equator get into the warm waters.

3. As we told in the opening paragraph, they are way senior than humans in terms of presence on Earth. These majestic Blue Whales have been around since last 54 million years.

4. Humans are really pathetic and they can destroy anything for their mere appeasement. By 20th century’s first half, humans killed so many Blue Whales that they became nearly extinct. Did you know that 360,000 of these animals were killed by humans between 1900 and 1960? Why were they killed? Because of whale oil. That’s considered precious and has many medicinal values.

5. It was only in 1966 that International Whaling Commission came forward to provide protection of these magnificent mammals. As of today, there are just 4,500 (or less) Blue Whales left on this entire planet.

Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 6-10

6. Hunting isn’t the only reason why Blue Whales are threatened. There is another grave danger. Increasing pollution of the oceans because of human activities is threatening their habitat. They are also dying because of oil spills (from oil tankers), changes in climatic conditions (which again is caused primarily because of human activities), high sea traffic (did you know that the Blue Whales often collide with large boats and wind up dead?).

7. Now, just how big are Blue Whales? They are so large that their tongue alone weighs more than a fully grown elephant!

8. Blue Whales can grow up to 100 feet in length and weigh more than 200 tons!

9. According to National Geographic, the heart of a Blue Whale is as big as a car! Okay, that’s disturbing but true! The heart of a Blue Whale is as big as a Mini Cooper.

10. What makes these Blue Whales so big? Well, no good explanation is there but did you know that their diet is composed primarily of krill? Krill are small animals – tiny actually! The have an appearance similar to shrimps.

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Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 11-15

11. Here is something even weirder. Their diet is almost exclusively made of krill. This means that they barely eat anything else other than krill. And… there are certain times during a year when they (the adult ones) will actually eat up to 4 tons of krill in one single day!

12. Blue Whales are actually classified as baleen whales. What does that mean? Well, if you get a chance, do take a look at its jaws. The upper jaw of a Blue Whale have plates, which are fringed. The material that these plates are are made up of is like that of our fingernails. This material is called baleen.

13. What is the purpose of the baleen? It helps the whales in eating. What these whales do is that they will first expand the pleated skin they have in their belly and their throat to take in enormous amounts of water. Once the water is in, they will then use their humongous tongue to push the water out of their mouth. The water passes through baleen but the tiny krill fail to pass through. The krill then gets into its belly.

14. Have you ever wondered about the color of the Blue Whales? Well, they indeed look blue when viewed under water. However, when taken out of water, they have a blotchy blue-gray color.

15. However, the blue color that you see is only on the upper side of the whale. The underbelly of a Blue Whale is know for having a yellowish hue. However, this hue is primarily because of millions of microbes that live on its skin.

Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 16-20

16. Blue Whales are not known to be very social. They usually roam around alone. Sometimes they are found in pairs. Occasionally, they may form small groups and swim around.

17. Babies of Blue Whales are known as calves. These calves are another wonder in their own. Do you know that they stay in their mothers’ wombs for 1 year and then come out? That’s not really surprising but here is the weird fact – a newborn calf is 25 feet long and 3 tons in weight. This means that during the time of their birth, they already make it to the list of world’s largest animals.

18. These calves have more surprise hidden in them. Do you know that during their first year in ocean, they actually keep gaining 200 pounds a day? Any guess what they feed on? Only their mothers’ milk! Any idea how much milk they drink each day? Not much! Only 100 gallons!

19. Apart from humans, Blue Whales are world’s longest-lived animals and that too without any medicines or healthcare! The average lifespan of a Blue Whale is between 80 and 90 years. The oldest ever found till date is 110 years.

20. There is an interesting way of counting their age. Scientists actually look at their earplugs. These earplugs are wax-like and have layers. The number of layers give an estimate of their age.

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Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 21-25

21. The usual speed at which the Blue Whales swim is 5 miles per hours. However, if somehow they get agitated, they can increase their speed and swim at a speed of 20 miles per hour.

22. Not only the Blue Whales are largest animals on Earth, they are also among world’s loudest. They usually emit moans, groans and pulses and if conditions are right, they can easily hear each other from a distance of 1,000 miles. This means that not only they are very loud, they also have very powerful hearing!

23. They usually communicate with each other using sounds. However, the use both their vocalizations and their hearing abilities to navigate through the depths of ocean where light cannot reach. The system is called echo-location navigation.

24. Here is something more interesting. They have a blowhole on top of their heads. When they exhale, water shoots out of the blowhole. This water can actually reach a height of 30 feet in air.

25. When we say that Blue Whales are really loud, we really mean it. Jet engines don’t create as much sound as these whales create when they vocalize (their cries).

Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 26-30

26. The amount of krill that a Blue Whale eats on a usual day actually weigh more than the weight of an African elephant.

27. Blue Whales have lungs that they use to breathe. The blowhole on top of its head is actually the nostril. The nostril is so big that a human baby can actually crawl through it.

28. The major veins and arteries present in the body of a Blue Whale are so large that a human baby can easily pass through them.

29. Can you guess when do these Blue Whales sleep? They sleep while the swim. That’s possible only because they have the ability to use half their brain for sleeping and the remaining half of the brain remains active.

30. The big heart of Blue Whale usually beats at a speed of 5 beats to 6 beats in a single minute. However, when they dive deep, their heartbeat drops down to 3 beats per minute.

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Interesting Blue Whale Facts: 31-35

31. Will you be surprised if we say that the first whales that came into existence were actually a typical land animals and that the Blue Whale is a descendant of those land animals? Scientists call them Pakicetus. They lived about 54 million years ago in the area which is today known as Pakistan (but was actually a part of Undivided India before partition in 1947).

32. The Pakicetus were 4-footed mammals and they lived on land. They were small – about the size of today’s wolf. They were carnivores and usually lived on meat but didn’t mind feeding on fish.

33. The Pakicetus used to live along margins of Tethys Sea – a large shallow ocean that used to exist back then.

34. Pakicetus were typical land animals but their heads had long skulls – typical to that of whales that we see today.

35. Further studies of the Pakicetus fossil found in 1938 revealed that it had a ear bone that is typically found in whales. They even had an ankle bone, which connects it to artiodactyls (which are basically hoofed mammals with even toes such as the pigs, hippos, giraffes, deer, antelopes, cows and cetaceans (aquatic artiodactyls).

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3

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1 comment

J June 1, 2019 - 7:17 am

“Humans are really pathetic”… oh word?

Reply

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