whale camouflage

From: NAMMACETA@aol.com
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 11:36:44 EST


Ques.: How does the blue whale camouflage? Could it hide from orcas? Could a
blue whale kill an orca with its tail?

Ans: Whales, and many other marine animals that live up and down in the water
column, are usually darker on top that on the bottom. This camouflages from
the top and the bottom. Their light/white undersides are harder to see when
looking up toward the surface from beneath them. Looking down into the water
at a whales dark back makes it very hard to see them. Whales generally hide
from an orca threat by trying to be quiet. The sonar systems of orcas would
detect anything as large as a blue whale without color being a factor. A
blue whale could kill an orca with a blow from its tail.

Ques: Does the grey whale look like a rock by the shore with all the
barnacles on it? Does this help them camouflage from orcas? Does anything
else eat grey whales?

Ans: Actually, once when I was in a class at the College of Marin in
California, I did see a grey whale, in very close to shore along the Big Sur
coast in California. And we watched it for awhile from the highway before
knowing if it was a rock or a whale. It wasn't until the whale exhaled (blew)
that we knew for sure what it was.
Grey whales would try to be very quiet when they hear orcas nearby. As with
blues, they are too large to hide from the echolocation of orcas.
Large sharks MIGHT be an occassional problem to certain older, very young, or
injured grey whales.

Ques: Is the beluga whale white for camouflage in ice? Do polar bears, or
anything else eat belugas?

Ans.: Presumably, belugas use the white coloration for camouflage. They do
spend a lot of time in icy pack waters. Strangely, their calves are a gray
color. Polar bears would scavenge for whale carcasses. It would be hard for
a bear to catch a beluga. Other than human hunters, I can't think of anything
other than orcas that might eat belugas.

Ques: Why are sperm whales white?

Ans: Actually, except for the odd albino sperm whale, sperm whales are a
dark color. Ones that I have seen are almost brown in color.

Ques.: Can whales camouflage from whaling vessels? How do humpbacks
camouflage? Do orcas have enemies other than people>

Ans: Whales can only hold their breaths and try to escape underwater.
Whaling vessels harpoon whales as they surface to breathe. Humpbacks
camouflage with their contrasting dark and white coloring. Orcas probably
don't have much to worry about.

Super good and challenging questions!

Hope that helps you


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