when whales breathe

From: Erich Hoyt (EHoyt@compuserve.com)
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 08:32:49 EST

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Message text written by "Tim Cooper"

Can you tell me when Whales breath? Can Whales swim for 500
hours before taking a breath? Thank You!


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There about 83 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and each species
has a different breathing pattern. Breathing also varies depending on the
behavior. When whales are hunting, the pattern varies from when they might
be resting, for example. With orcas, the whales might take 3 or 4 breaths
(spouting, then sucking in air) over a minute or two, coming up to the
surface each time, then stay down for 5 or 10 minutes. With sperm whales
that are diving deep for food, they might take 50 or 60 breaths in a row,
before going down for 45 minutes or an hour.

It would be impossible for any whale to swim 500 hours before taking a
breath. The longest they can hold their breath (at least as far as we know)
would be about 2 hours for the Northern bottlenose whale. The true limit
might be a little more than this - but not much.

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