Blue Whale Question

From: Greg Early (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 16:37:21 EST


How is this....

You might also want to check with the Whaling Museum in New Bedford
Massachusetts. They have the mounted skeleton of a blue whale as a part of
one of their exhibits and could probably give you some more information...


 The blue whale is the largest of all whales and the largest animal to have
ever lived on earth. Growing as long as 110 feet and weighing more than 160
tons, blue whales can be found in every ocean but are most frequently found
in the cold waters near the north and south poles.
 Because blue whales spend most of their lives in deep water [the open
ocean], we know very little about how they live or behave. They feed on
swarms of tiny crustaceans called krill that float near the surface of the
ocean and a single whale might consume up to eight tons of krill each day.
Blue whales usually spend the summer months feeding in the cold waters near
Antarctica and the arctic, and then travel to warmer waters in winter to
give birth to their calves. [Scientists doubt that whales cross the equator
and populations from the north and south rarely, if ever meet]

 Female blue whales give birth to a single calf every two to three years
that is twenty-three feet long and weighs eight-tons. A young blue whale
drinks about 130 gallons of its mother’s milk and gains about 200 pounds
each day.

 When they are chased, blue whales can swim as fast as 22 miles per hour,
which was too fast to be captured by whalers on sailing ships in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Not until the development of faster
steam-driven whaleships in the early twentieth century, were blues whales
hunted to a large degree. Between 1920 and 1985, [however] blue whales were
the most [prized target of commercial whalers] . The oil rendered from
their thick blubber was used primarily to make margarine. In a single
hunting season off Antarctica in 1931, more that 30,000 blue whales were
caught, which is more than probably exist worldwide today.

 Thanks to the efforts of environmentalists, blue whales have been
internationally protected from hunting [by international agreement] since
1966. However, their worldwide population has not fully recovered. Of the
estimated 5,000 blue whales that inhabited the Northern Hemisphere before
hunting began, only about 1,500 remain. While in the Southern Hemisphere,
only about 8,000 whales remain from a pre-hunting population of
approximately 250,000. [ NOTE: The population numbers are about in the
middle of the estimates…as low as 5,000…as high as @12,000]

   · A blue whale can grow as long as [The largest reported blue
whale was]110 feet [long], longer than a 737 airplane.

 · Blue whales produce the loudest (180 decibels) and lowest (10 – 20
hertz) sounds of any animal. The noise from a jet engine at full power is
only 170 decibels from one yard away [ A human can shout about 70dB]. [note:
technically, dB does not indicate the same level of "loudness" between water
and air. This is a minor technical difference, but some may wonder why you
can not hear such a loud noise from the whale]

 · When a blue whale is feeding, it gulps [ fills its throat with]
about 16,000 gallons of water (comparison? More than a tanker truck (holds
less than 10,000 gallons)…Or about 800 bathtubs per mouthful the water is
expelled through its baleen and only the food is swallowed].

· A blue whale’s heart weighs ¾ of a ton and its blood vessels can be
4 inches in diameter

· A blue whale’s eye is only the size of a small teacup. Its
external ear is only as large and the tip of a pencil.

 · [ A blue whale's tongue can weigh four tons can be about the size
of a Volkswagen Bug]

 · Blue whale’s breath air like land mammals. They can stay under
water for 30 minutes, but usually breathe every 2 to 5 minutes.

 · The blue whale’s scientific name is Balaenoptera musculus.
Balaenoptera means “winged whale” in Latin, while musculus means “little
mouse.” The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus who gave the blue whale its
scientific name in 1758, named the world’s largest animal “little mouse”
probably as a joke.

 · Whalers called blue whales “sulfur bottoms” because of a tiny
yellow green algae that grows on the whale’s belly.

How heavy is a 160-ton adult blue whale?
The Same as:
 30 bull elephants


1,830 adult humans


6,957 6 year olds


30 Tyrannosaurus rex

 -----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 9:01 PM
Subject: Blue Whale Question

  To whom it may concern,
       My name is Jacqueline Karli and I am a junior at Victor J. Andrew
High School. I am taking an Animal Behavior class, and we have a project on
endangered animals to do. I chose the Blue Whale. The project is on the
internet, the web address is, the web
page will be ready on January 4th 2001. If possible, can you write me
something about the blue whale, what you think about the whale, or some
words of advice. I would appreciate it very much. Thank you! My address


Jacqueline Karli

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