We have discussed plenty of large land animals. In fact, the largest land animals. However, the biggest animals in the world don’t live on land, they live in the oceans and seas. These waters hide a lot of gigantic creatures that we know of, and possibly, some that we don’t know, considering how little of our oceans have actually been explored. But, one creature that we do know of, and who is GIGANTIC – is the blue whale. And we simply must talk about the 15 Unbelievable Facts About Blue Whales.
- Yes, blue whales are, indeed, the largest animals on mother Earth. They are also though to be the largest animals who have ever lived, on Earth. They can grow to be 30 meters or 100 feet long. They also weigh, on average, more than 130,000 kilograms or 286,600 pounds. A single average blue whale is longer than three busses and heavier than three trucks! Elephant is the largest land animals on Earth, but you could actually line up about 10 of them on a back of a blue whale.
- Along with the entirety of their bodies, whales have gigantic organs, too. Their tongues weigh as much as a grown African elephant, their hearts are the size of a car and their blood vessels are so wide you could swim through them. All of this helps to put their size in perspective.
- Blue whales are carnivores. They tend to eat huge amounts of shrimp-like crustaceans called krill. They consome, on average, 36 tons of these poor little guys.
- These giants communicate with each other by making loud sounds. In fact, they produce the loudest sounds of all animals or Earth and the sounds that they make can be heard from hundreds of kilometers away, underwater. Up to 1,600 kilometers or 1000 miles away, in fact.
- Female blue whales give birth every 3 years. It takes about 11 to 12 months for a blue whale fetus to develop and be born. After birth, blue whale calves are already amongst the biggest animals on Earth. They are born weighing about 4tons and being about 8 meters or 26 feet in length. They consume nothing but their mothers’ milk, about 600 litres a day, and gain 90 kilograms or 200 pounds everyday for the first 7 to 8 months.
- Although blue whales, and whales in general, are sea-and-ocean-dwelling creatures, they’re mammals, not fish, that means that they can’t breathe underwater. They usually be underwater for about 5-15 mins or a bit more and then they have to emerge. When they do so, they exhale air out of a blowhole in a cloud of pressurized vapour that rises vertically above the water for up to 9 meters or 30 feet.
- Blue whales tend to hunt krill in the cold polar waters and then travel to warmer tropical waters to mate and give birth.
- When they hunt krill, blue whales tend to dive up to 500 meters or 1640 feet below.
- Blue whales are semi-social animals. They occasionaly travel in small groups of several members, sometimes in pairs and, also, sometimes alone.
- Despite their huge size, blue whales do have some predators that sometimes prey on them, including certain large sharks and killer whales. They occasionally become injured or die during the attacks of these predators. Blue whale calves are especially in danger og being attacked. Adults – a lot less.
- Blue whales can cruise for hours at speed of 8 kilometers or 5 miles per hour and they can also reach speeds of 30 km/h or 18.6 m/h, when attacking krill or running from predators, for example.
- Blue whales have an average life span of 80 to 90 years and some have been reported to have lived to be 110. Now that’s impressive!
- Despite their giant overall size, their flippers, organs used to steer them and help manoeuvre in the water, are very relatively small. They only constitute about 12 percent of their overall body size.
- Blue whales are “ballen” whales. That means that they belong to a group of whales who don’t have teeth, but rather they have a fibrous material used to filter their food. They take in a huge amount of krill and water into their mouths and then uses their 300-400 baleen plates to filter out the water and trap the precious krill to be digested.
- Human hunting in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily for their oil, has led blue whale populations to decrease by about 70 to 90 percent, in the last 150 years, even though their hunting was banned in 1966. Plus sometimes they colide with ships and get injured or die. Because of all of this, there are about 10,000-25,000 of blue whales left, in the wild, they are considered to be endangered species.
And that’s it, folks. Blue whales are truly some of the most fascinating and definitely the biggest animals on our planet, but they also need to be protected, because they are endangered, although, luckily, their populations are slowly growing. And that concludes the 15 Unbelievable Facts About Blue Whales article.