… the BIGGEST animal that has ever lived on our planet is the blue whale? The longest blue whale ever measured was 30.5m long making it larger than any dinosaur that has ever lived! This is 3.5 times the size of a double decker bus, the same size as a Boeing 737 plane and almost as heavy as 20 elephants! (roughly 144 tons).
The heart of a blue whale weighs about 450kg and is as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. Its major blood vessels are big enough for a human to crawl through!
…the Vaquita and Maui’s dolphin are the MOST ENDANGERED cetaceans on our planet? Vaquita means “little cow” in Spanish and it can only be found in a small area of the northern Gulf of California. Sadly, its global population size is estimated to be only around 125 animals.
Maui’s dolphins live off the coast of the North Island of New Zealand and have a population size of only 80 animals. Since there are only so few left, they are listed critically endangered with extinction.
The beautiful Yangtze River dolphin (also known as Baiji) sadly died out during the last 20 years.
That the SMALLEST cetaceans on our planet, are Hector’s dolphins and the Vaquita (a very endangered porpoise), with a length of about 1.4m. However, looking at weight, the finless porpoise is probably the lightest as it weighs a maximum of only 55kg. You will need as much as 3000 finless porpoises to reach the weight of a blue whale, the biggest cetacean there is.
…blue whales, are PREGNANT FOR THE LONGEST with the average pregnancy lasting almost 2 years? When the calf is born, it is 7.5m long and weighs 5.5-7.3 tons on average: heavier than most adult elephants! A calf drinks as much as 225 liters of milk a day (that is an entire bathtub full). This milk is very fatty and contains 40-50% fat compared to the milk you drink in the morning which has a maximum of 3.5%, which makes its consistency comparable to that of cottage cheese. Drinking all this milk makes a blue whale calf gain up to 3.7 kilograms an hour, until at the age of 8 months it is 15m long and weighs an amazing 22.5 tons!
…the world’s BEST DIVING WHALE is the sperm whale? Adults can stay underwater for almost two hours at a time and dive as deep as 2000m! This is the same depth as 7 Eiffel Towers or 208,000 Lego bricks stacked on top of each other. We humans cannot dive this deep since we would be crushed under the immense pressure of the water above.
Giant squid, who live in the deep sea, are a favorite on their menu and you can often see the marks the squids’ suckers made during fights.
…the BIGGEST BRAIN belongs to the sperm whale. Its head is up to a third of its overall body length its brain weighs up to 9kg?! A sperm whale is 20m long, making its head big enough to park a small car inside.
…the bowhead whale has the THICKEST BLUBBER? It is an astonishing 70cm thick! The bowhead whale also has the LONGEST BALEEN at up to 5m long! Read more about baleen whales.
…the tusks of male narwhals are actually one of their teeth, which pierce through the lip and grow into the LONGEST TOOTH amongst cetaceans, up to an incredible 2 to 3 meters.
…cetaceans grow very old in the wild? As a rule of thumb, the larger species grow the oldest. The bowhead whale spends its life in the cold waters of the Arctic and is the world’s OLDEST and the LONGEST LIVED of all whales. It is estimated they can get more than 200 years old!
…blue whales are the LOUDEST creatures on Earth? Their calls and songs are louder than a jet. The sound a jet makes is about 140 decibels—in comparison, a blue whale can be as loud as 188 decibels!
…Male human humpback whales sing the MOST COMPLEX and LONGEST SONGS and have loud, eerie and beautiful songs that include recognizable sequences of squeaks, grunts and other sounds. It is only ever the males that sing and no one has ever heard females or calves sing. In warm waters the males only sing the more complex and softer songs to attract females during their breeding seasons. In colder waters, they make rougher sounds, scrapes and groans that are useful for locating swarms of krill (the tiny shrimp-like animals they eat). The humpback whales’ song was even recorded in the 1970s and sent into space on a golden record, just in case aliens should ever find it.
Listen to the beautiful song of a humpback whale here!
Humpback whales are not the only whales famous for their songs. Beluga whales are often called the “canaries of the sea” because they make sounds like the little yellow birds.
…the LONGEST MIGRATION is made by the humpback whales? They feed in the waters of the Antarctic and swim north to breed off the coast of Colombia and Panama: the longest migration of any mammal on Earth.
Grey whales also migrate large distances. Some travel between 16,000-20,000 km every year between their winter calving lagoons (the place where the new babies are born) in the warm waters of Mexico, and their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas. In its lifetime (an estimated 40 years) a grey whale travels a distance which is equivalent of going to the moon and back!