Blue Whale


GENERAL DESCRIPTION


The largest animal that has ever lived on earth is the blue whale. Not only is this creature the largest, it is also the loudest. Blue whales only eat small organisms, such as plankton and krill. They are found living in small groups, or more commonly known as pods. They have 2 blow holes and have 5-30cm thick layer of blubber.


SIZE


The blue whale can grow up to 25m long on average. They weigh 109 tonnes. The largest blue whale found was a female. It was 27m long and weighed more then 158 tonnes. The females are always larger then the males are. The largest of the blue whales has a heart that weighs around 450 kg and has 6,400 kg of blood going around its body. Blue whales have a heart the size of a Volkswagon beetle. And a its main blood vessel is big enough to crawl through.


LOUDNESS


The loudest animal on earth is also the blue whale! When they make a sound, it can reach up to 188 decibels. They make a low-frequency whistle that can be heard from hundreds of miles away. The blue whales call is even louder then a jet (140 decibels). Human shouting is 70 decibels. Sounds over 120 decibels hurt the human ear.


SKIN, SHAPE AND FINS


Blue whale’s normally have a blue-gray skin with gray spots. Their underbelly is brown, yellow and has gray specks. In winter, small diatoms stick to their underbelly, giving it a yellow to silver sulfur colored sheen. They are also known as “sulfur bottom.”


Blue whales have very small, sickle shaped dorsal fins that are near the tail. Their thin flippers are around 2.4m long and the tail can be up to 7.6m wide.


DIET AND BALEEN
The blue whales are all seasonal feeders and carnivores. They filter feed all kinds of tiny crustaceans such as plankton and small fish. They go into dense groups of small sea organisms with open mouths and scoop out what they can. Blue whales have about 320 pairs of black baleen plates with dark bristles in the blue whale’s jaw. Each one is about 1m long, 53 cm wide and weigh up to 90kg. The tongue of the blue whale weighs 3.8 tonnes.

The average sized blue whale will consume 900-4,100 kg of plankton every day.


SOCIAL GROUPS
The blue whale can live individually or is more commonly known to swim in very small pods or in pairs.


DIVING
They can stay underwater for a full hour without coming up for air, they can reach a depth of 105m.


SPOUTING - BREATHING
Blue whales are not fish, they breathe air like all mammals do. They breathe through 2 blowholes located near the top of the head.

SPEED


The blue whale can reach speeds of 4.8-32 kph. It can reach speeds of 48 kph when in danger. When it is feeding, it will go around speeds of 1.6-6.2 kph.