Characteristics of the Whale, Definition and Feeding

If you are an admirer of animals, I invite you to learn a little more about the Characteristics of the Whale. Here you will have more information about these large and beautiful animals that sail the seas of the planet, as well as some interesting curiosities and a lot of data. Do not miss it!


Characteristics of the Whales

In the family of cetaceans are the whales or balaenids. These large sea mammals inhabit the entire world ocean. They are classified into four variety of species, which can be separated into two genera. It is thought that these whales originate from prehistoric animals, since they have lived on earth for millions of years.

It has always been the intention to study this great wonder, which has an impressive size that is much admired, since whales are one of the largest species in the world. Whales are quite friendly and have a very varied anatomy. In opposition to the other fish, this one has a tail that is placed horizontally, since they come to the surface of the sea to breathe, which this tail makes it easier.

How much can they weigh?

Whales can weigh from 80 tons to a maximum of 180 tons since there are several breeds, because they are the heaviest animals in the world. Their weight is due to the fact that these animals are in a maritime space.

However, not all species reach this great weight, those that have a smaller size would weigh approximately 50 tons. So its weight is not an impediment to moving fast, this is thanks to the fact that it is under the sea, in this way if it were on the earth's surface it would be unattainable to move.


How tall can they be?

Whales have different sizes due to the large number of species that exist, it has also been shown that it is one of the largest animals that exists on the planet, since they can measure from 24 meters to 30 meters in length. Coming only to this extent completely in its maturity.

At birth their size ranges from 4 meters to 7 meters long and these large animals grow at great speed as they gain from 80 kilos to 100 kilos per day while they are in their growth stage.

Whale Anatomy

Due to their anatomy, these whales show an exaggeratedly large skull, this skull covers a third of the length of the whale's body, it also has fins on the pectorals that help it move.

The dorsal fin gives it the power to balance and it has a horizontal tail, quite the opposite of that of the fish that have it vertically. A maximum speed for whales has been recorded to be about 30 miles per hour. Regarding the thick layer of fat that whales have all over their bodies, they can live in cold and placid places. On the other hand, whales have an opening at the top of their heads, called a blowhole, which they use to breathe.

Certain whales can rise to the surface to get a little oxygen, then go back down to the depths of the sea, where they can stay for an hour or two.

Origin and evolution

During its time of evolution it manages to endow it with extraordinary physical abilities, for moving under the sea, since being such a large animal it can be transported from one place to another without any inconvenience. For many science scholars, they find it something peculiar and curious at the same time, with only the fact that they can move under the aquatic environment.

Is the whale a mammal?

Whales are mammals, according to the traditional theory of evolution their ancestors walked, but due to their large size it was difficult for them to find food, for this reason they had to go to the sea to look for a large amount of food to satisfy their hunger. This explains why their bone structure is very similar to mammalian animals.

It is for this reason that the traditional theory of cetaceans predicts that in the past these animals had pectoral fins that were similar to the hands of land mammals, and as they evolved they became a horizontal fin with vertical movement. Which is more like when land mammals are running.

In this way, they replaced their legs and hooves with fins, with an evolution that caused them to develop a large layer of very thick fat, establishing patterns of movement from one place to another as migrants, are one of the changes that these Whales.


Where can we find them?

These animals can live in all the oceans of our planet, they can also live in places where there is fresh water. They can be as much as in somewhat frozen waters with respect to the cold, such as those of the north, or also tropical territories, in this way the whales have managed to adapt to different regions and many diversities of environments.

On the other hand, certain specific species live at a distance not so far from the coasts, there they can be admired throughout the east coast of the United States, in regions such as Oregon, Texas and California.

What do whales eat?

Looking at their enormous size, it can be easily determined that these animals must need enough food. In order to have food, they must consume large amounts of food. Likewise, whales are very good predators, so they hate feeding on a variety of fish and aquatic organisms.

In the same way as baleen whales, they use very particular components. Since it does not have teeth, it has to feed on some small animals. Therefore, what they usually do is that they attract all the water and with the support of their formidable beards, they expel all that absorbed liquid again, there are a large number of organisms such as krill and plankton that have been trapped inside their mouth. to then be digested by your body.

For this reason, whales are frequently prepared to eat fixedly every day, a large sum of food that can be equivalent to 4% of what their anatomical weight has.

An example of this can be like the blue whale that consumes even up to 1000 kg of food daily, just like the other toothed whales, they consist of a diet of some polar bears, certain seals, and squid, even other whales a little more little.

Barbed or toothed?

Among the classifications of the whales, 2 sets of very large groups can be found. First, those with teeth are shown, these are identified by their presence of teeth that are homodonts, this means that they have similar teeth in their mouths.

Therefore, it should not be thought that the fact that whales have teeth does not mean that they chew their food, on the contrary, they take advantage of using their teeth to crush the prey they capture in their hunts. These whales that are baleen, otherwise they are called mysticetes, in this way they are usually identified by some rows of sheets that are elastic and that have keratin are frequently called baleen.

The baleen that they have, are located in the maxillary part of the whales, they fulfill a very important function such as their feeding, for this reason they are in charge of creating a kind of filter for the food they consume.

Something very curious that should be noted is that these genera of species, which wear dentures, are often more aggressive than their family, those with beards, while these last ones are somewhat larger than the previous ones. In addition, baleen whales are not as fast as those with teeth, this is something very explainable, and it is due to the lack of dorsal fins that these species of animals have.

How are whales born?

According to biologists, female whales manage to reach a mature reproductive life in seven years, unlike males that take ten years to start their reproduction. These same biologists sometimes show some inconvenience in distinguishing the sex of each whale, since the males are used to having their reproductive organ stored in a hole while they are swimming in the sea.

Through the process of courtship, in order to win over a female, these males must first undertake some great fights, in order to finally beat the female. Distinctive songs that the males have and incessant friction, is what defines this stage prior to copulation, however, once finished, this couple must be separated forever, and even the female whale can look for other couples, this It is while the mating season lasts.

Consecutively, the moment of the gestation period begins, since this will have to take between 11 and 16 months, in concert with how this species is accustomed and the circumstances that make them emigratory. Which, once the calf is born, must depend forever on the attention that its mother will give it, which females usually only give birth to once.

At the time when it is necessary to breastfeed, the little newborn will be able to feed on a maximum of 160 liters of milk daily, which will allow him to begin to have body fat to preserve his body in high climatic temperatures. At the end of this period of life that covers only one year, this new and large whale will have to embark on a path alone, to become independent from its mother. This species can even live for approximately sixty years.

What threat do these large animals have?

They do not have predators that persecute them, but nevertheless these whales are a species that is in danger of extinction today, and for now this is a case that has as a response to the movement of destruction that human beings have against nature.

Those who take hunting as a sport, or the illegal capture of this species that are seriously prohibited, which also make them very constant and big, in addition to the decline of their original environment that is their nature, this also harms, since These are elements that absolutely affect the stability of these beautiful whales.

Taking into account that this species takes a long time to start reproducing. Since this is between seven and fourteen years of life, with what this process does in a stipulated time, about fifteen months, this would become quite complicated circumstances.

Otherwise, the sonars and location systems that are used by the military, this situation also affects the lifespan of the whales. Certain organizations that are ecological focus with all their strength the will towards the protection of this species. Since it is in danger of becoming extinct, but this is not very helpful. So in this way many circumstances have occurred with respect to the pollution of the ocean, with the oil spills, the hunts that are very constant and the backward thoughts that will culminate in the miserable extinction of the whales.


How do whales behave?

Whales have a very particular and explicit behavior, within their species. But like other species behave according to the place or environment in which they live. Many must know a very common communication system between them, which is extraordinary, since in this way they are suitable for hearing at a certain distance that can be up to kilometers.

The signals generated by this species are not sensitive to the ear of a human being. But between them this grants him the power to have a consecutive communication. This type of communication is the reason why whales create and form clans or groups. This is very important for them to develop.

Because it is a help when they go from one place to another as a migrant. Whales are thought to develop an exquisite lexicon in their vocabulary in order to communicate.

Baleen whales emit sounds through the spiracle, which is also used to breathe, unlike humpback whales that formulate sound very similar to that of humans which consists of the typical "whale songs", which at the same time are used to communicate.


What species of these animals exist?

If you have noticed that it has been previously discussed that they are classified into two genres, the bearded and the toothed. Therefore, here are some, which are the most outstanding of each set, these are:

toothed whales

Toothed whales are those mammals that have teeth and when they have to look for or hunt food they will have to chew it, but they do not swallow all the prey they only remove or bite pieces of the food they have, among them we have the different species that we will name:

narwhal whale

These live mainly in the seas, specifically in the regions of the Atlantic Ocean and part of the Arctic. Their trait that makes them stand out from other types of whales. They have very long tusks that they have on the front of male whales. And these measure approximately 2 meters.

Pilot Whale

This type of whale is called pilot whales. They live mostly in temperate and subarctic waters around the world. His favorite food is squid and they are differentiated because they are black or dark gray.

Sperm Whale

We are talking about the most immense toothed animal that can exist in the whole world. The mature sperm whale measures up to 20 meters. What makes this animal phenomenal, having a much more outstanding head of body structure. Therefore, this animal is currently considered as a species that is going towards extinction.

Beluga whale

At certain times this whale is defined as the "white whale". This is due to its color on the body that prevails over the others. This is the animal, which has been found with more fat in the body, than that of all cetaceans.

baleen whales

While the main characteristic of baleen whales is that they do not have teeth, instead they have baleen, and they have two holes to breathe, while toothed whales only have one. The system they have to eat is a form of filtering that is found in the jaws, they open their mouths and graze at a slow speed and gobble up all kinds of food.

Blue whale

It is the largest whale in the world of its kind. Weighing more than one hundred tons and approximately twenty-eight meters long. This is just average. In addition, these whales live in all the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Boreal whale

It is also known as the Greenland whale. Its body structure is very vigorous, it lacks the dorsal fins. Since these can be about 19 meters long. Even their beards can be measured by about three meters in length. There is talk of non-migratory whales, but rather they settle in one place.

Fin whale

We are talking about the second largest whale in the world, followed by the blue whale. Its habitat is in the arctic ocean. Currently it is also considered an endangered species, since it has only about three thousand whales.

Frank whale

These are divided into three groups of species, although we speak of the majority. The dark colored cetaceans whose name is due to the fact that when they are already dead they float in the water. And it makes it easier for hunters to capture them. The importunate and clandestine hunting of this species has brought it to the brink of extinction.

Some curious facts about the Whales

There are things that you did not know about whales, and here I am going to mention some curious facts, which will be very useful:

  • Whales constantly sleep with one eye open similar to what dolphins do. This is because you must always remain ready, to always be aware of your breath. Since half of your brain sends this warning signal.
  • Blue whales are the largest animals on the entire planet, even larger than the dinosaurs themselves today.
  • This is the complete opposite of the previous one, the smallest whale in the world. That until now exists, is the Dwarf Sperm Whale, given that alone it reaches about two and a half meters in length. But nevertheless spend up to about three hundred kilograms.
  • Did you know that the famous "whale songs" are to woo the female, which is something similar to reciting or singing a love poem.
  • Although oxygen is very important for their life, they can last up to two hours under the sea. Although the usual thing is that they last half an hour.
  • You can also discover that whales love music, there are even many studies by marine biologists. In addition, they claim that whales can dance to the beat of music.

Other contributions of the Whales

Here we offer you other contributions that may be attractive, since these species are very admirable, given that they have many impressive characteristics, these are the following:

  • A contribution that makes you very curious is that scientists have managed to reach the audacity to determine that humpback whales can perform songs very similar to those of pop. Through the same gender structures. Even the ditties can be sung by the entire pod of whales.
  • Sperm whales have a very particular way of sleeping, and that is that they sleep vertically, placing their heads up. These whales are commonly known to go to sleep early, such as in the late afternoon, and wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Female whales are very friendly, that is why they create or form a bond of friendship with other whales of the same sex. These can go many years without seeing each other, but they find each other again over the years and they know who they are.
  • It is well known that whales can adopt other species as their own, so don't be surprised if you see a dolphin in your pod out for a walk.
  • Beluga whales also have a habit of adopting objects or animals as if they were their young. Until now, nothing has been found to explain this fascinating activity.
  • In addition, the boreal whales or as they are commonly known "Greenland whales" are the most surviving of their species. However, they have a lifespan that is between sixty and ninety years, there are discoveries that have recorded whales with more than two hundred years of life.

Important data

Through a decree, Queen Elizabeth II of England established that all aquatic mammals that come within two hundred nautical miles belong to or are protected by the queen, and it is prohibited to hunt any of these animals, "whales and dolphins".

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