Hi Kim, My grade three class has come up with two questions for you:
First, do baby whales have to grow the baleen or are they born with it?
Second, how do they get the milk out? Does the mother have a teat, or a
tube of some kind that the baby sucks on? Where is it located? Come to
think of it, I wonder if baby toothed whales are born with their teeth (ouch
mamma) or do they grow them?
Thank you for your questions. Baleen whales are born with baleen and the
baleen will grow proportionately with the whale. As soon as they are born
they begin to suckle from their mother. The mother has teats that the calf
sucks on by folding its tongue in a way that wraps around the teat. The
fatty milk is then injected into the mouth of the calf. The nursing glands
are near the belly button area on the underside of the whale. She will turn
on her side to help the calf nurse when it is born.
Toothed whales are born without teeth but within weeks the teeth are
budding. All whales nurse for at least 8 months and some up to 20 months
but they can begin eating solid food after a few months.
Please search WhaleNet for additional information at
Ocean Alliance (Whale Conservation Inst. & the Voyage of the Odyssey)
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA 01773
781.259.0423 ext. 14 fax 259.0288
Please support our efforts to conserve whales and their ocean environment
through research and education :)
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