It is a well-known fact that the Blue Whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on earth, growing up to 100 feet in length and can weigh up to 440,000 pounds.
Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant, and their hearts, as heavy as a car!
Despite their size, these giant ocean creatures feed on some of the smallest sea creatures in the world, these tiny shrimp-like animals known as krill.
An adult blue whale can consume up to 4000 kg of krill per day. This is similar to a whole hippopotamus or about seven polar bears.
Considering all this weight and how much they consume in a day, they are very graceful swimmers cruising the ocean at over 8km/h and can reach speeds over 30km/h.
Blue whales have few predators but are known to fall victim to shark and killer whale attacks, and many are i.nju.red or d.i.e each year from collisions with large ships.
Did you know the blue whale is a light-spotted blue-gray whale with light gray undersides? The colors from the water and the light from the sun make them look darker blue than they really are.
Have you ever wondered how a blue whale sleeps underwater even though they need to breathe heavily every hour or so?
Well, they do something called “conscious sleep,” which is something other whales and dolphins do. They never fully fall asleep; instead, they only rest half of their brain at a time. The other half stayed awake to prevent them from drowning.
The whale’s mouth has a fascinating row of plates fringed with bristles to filter its main food source, plankton, from the water. There is what looks like a mustache of long bristles on the end of each plate to help it hold the tiny prey.
Whales can hold up to 5,000 kg of water and plankton with each mouthful. After squeezing the juice out of its mouth, the whale licks these bristles with its giant meaty tongue.
Females breed only once every three years, and the gestation period is 11-12 months. Females usually have only one young. The calf is breastfed underwater, drinks more than 600 liters of milk per day, and gains about 90kg per day in the first year.
A blue whale emerges, weighing up to 2,700kg and up to 8m long. Newborn whales are helped to the surface by their mothers and often encouraged by other females to take their first breath of air.
In addition to being the largest animal in the world, they are also one of the longest living animals. The average Blue Whale lifespan is 80 to 90 years, but some live to 110 (Bowhead whales are the longest-living mammals, at over 200 years).
Curiously, a whale’s age is calculated by counting the layers of their waxy earplugs, just like trees!