- Author: Jeanette du Toit
- Wednesday, 05 March 2014
Did you know?
- HUMPBACK WHALE FACTS
- Average Length: (Adult) 35-50 ft (Newborn) 13-16 ft
- Average Weight: (Adult) 23-30 tons (Birth) 1-2 tons
- Population: 18,000-20,000 (2002 figure)
- Lifespan: estimated to be around 40 years (1998 figure)
- Threats: Caught in fishing nets, human disturbance, and being tangled in marine pollution
- The males produce songs that are the longest and the most varied in all the animal kingdom, with repeated sequences about 15 minutes long
- The humpback whale breaches more frequently than other baleen whales
- The flukes (tails) have a distinct pattern on the underside, much like our fingerprints
- Can stay underwater for 30 minutes but often dives for much shorter periods of time, usually 5 to 10 minutes
- When they are in cold waters, the humpback whale eats 2 tons of fish and planktonic crustaceans a day, in 2 to 4 meals
Related CategoryMarine Wildlife
"Humpback” refers to the habit of raising and bending its back in preparation for the dive, accentuating the pronounced hump in front of the dorsal fin.
The humpback whale is a baleen whale and a rorqual whale with a rounded body narrowing to a slender tail. The bulky head and jaws have numerous knobs that contain hair follicles and provide sites for barnacles and whale lice.
Images - Pixabay - http://pixabay.com
Humpback whales are easily distinguished by their remarkably long flippers up to as much as a third of its total body length.
The upper body is black but the flippers, ventral groove area, flanks and underside of the flukes are white.
The distinctive with patches on the underside of the flukes (tail) are unique to each individual whale, like a fingerprint. The blow is a broad, bushy balloon of spray
Humpback whales have small dorsal fin is raised on a platform of blubber.
The upper body is black but the flippers, ventral groove area, flanks and underside of the flukes are white. The distinctive with patches on the underside of the flukes (tail) are unique to each individual whale, like a fingerprint. The blow is a broad, bushy balloon of spray. Humpback whales have small dorsal fin is raised on a platform of blubber.
When Humpback Whales breach, they are hard to miss!
Humpback whales divide their lives between the cool, rich waters where they feed and the warmer, clear tropics where they breed.
They weigh up to 40 tonnes and grow up to 15 meters, larger than the average school bus!
Their flippers grow to 5 meters long
.... but despite their staggering size, most of their lives remain a mystery. We know very little about their rowdy courtship competitions ..or the gentle ways they nurse their young.
Humpback Whales dive deep and they dive long! When they dive, they raise their trademark flukes.
Each fluke is unique, a distinct pattern of colours and scars, they are like fingerprints…
the whale’s personal ID!
When the calve is several months old the Humpbacks will start leaving, the mother daily nursing the calve with up to 600liters of milk. In all this time she had nothing to eat and has lost almost a third of her body weight. Now she must feed and this means a journey of thousands of kilometers in an ocean full of danger.
After months of barely any food , the whales have a lot of catching op to do and one item on the menu is a tiny crustacean ,only 5mm long, called KRILL. The trick is catching a lot of them, and that is what Humpbacks are built to do.
A Humpback mouth can be 5 meters across, but its oesophagus is no bigger than a basketball.
It’s pleated throat bulges as the lower jaw dislocates, food stays in while the tongue pushes tonnes of waters out, the krill is then filtered through the hundreds of sieve like plates called, baleen.