general on whales

From: Pieter Arend Folkens (animalbytes@earthlink.net)
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 14:55:41 EST


>hello I am kruti . I study in is61 and doing research on whales ,I
>would like you to answer some of my questions. Here they are:
>
>1.What do whales eat?
>2.How many whales are there?
>3.What is the average wheight of a whale?
>4.Do whales eat humans?If yes then who?
>5.Who are the relitives of the whales?
>6.How do they attack animals?

1. The diet of whales depends on the type of whale. For all whales,
the diet ranges from very small zoo plankton (non-aggregating
copepods) all the way up to blue whales (hunted by killer whales).
Common food in the group is krill (small crustaceans) and schooling
fish, especially herring.

2. There are around 80 different species of whales, depending on
who's list one follows. This list includes dolphins and porpoises. In
terms of how many total there are, we really don't know. Some species
number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Others are
endangered an number fewer than 150 individuals.

3. The average weight depends on the species. The big rorquals weigh
around 1 ton per foot of length. Bowheads and right whales can weight
a bit over 1 ton per foot. The smaller whales (porpoises) weigh less
than 150 lbs.

4. There are no confirmed accounts of a whale eating a human. The
old biblical story of Jonah had a whale ingesting a person, not
eating them. I suspect a killer whale would eat a human if given the
opportunity and suitable circumstances. Certainly some have tried.

5. Whales are most closely related to the even-toed ungulates (deer,
cows, etc.)

6. Attacks (for food) vary according to the type of whale. The
rorquals are gulpers, taking in tons of food with a large scooping
mouth. Right whales skim for the food. Gray whales are bottom
suckers. Sperm whales use sound to hunt. Dolphins are single-prey
item foragers, picking one fish out of a school at a time.

Cheers,

Pieter Folkens



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