how long can whales stay underwater?

From: Merel Dalebout (
Date: Tue Jan 25 2000 - 21:37:59 EST

>How long do the ( Blue , Gray, Humpback, Killer,and Sperm )Whales
>stay underwater?

Hey there,

Thanks for your question. How long whales stay underwater during normal
feeding dives and how long they can stay underwater if they have to will of
course be quite different.

Data collected by whalers suggests that sperm whales and bottlenose whales
(one of the members of the little known family Ziphiidae) can stay under for
as much as 90 to 120 minutes respectively when pursued. These two species
eat deep water squid, and are capable of diving to depths of over 1000m.
Feeding dives for bottlenose whales at least are about 30 to 40 minutes for
deep dives.

Rorquals (the large baleen species which have throat grooves including blue
whales and humpbacks) can stay submerged for about 40 minutes, but usual
dive lengths are more on the order of 10-15 minutes. Dolphins (including
killer whales) usually do not dive very deep nor dive for very long. About
5-10 minutes in general, up to 15 minutes or so.

Hope this helps



Merel Dalebout
PhD student
School of Biological Sciences
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University of Auckland.
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