Subject: Re: Whales

Steve Frohock (Sfrohock@tiac.net)
Sun, 03 Nov 1996 19:30:17 -0800

knox@slonet.org wrote:
> 
> My name is Margae Knox, and I am a second grader from San Luis Obispo, CA.  Our teacher
> Mrs.Moore, is teaching us about whales.  I would like to know:
> 
>         1.  When a whale lives off his blubber, does it loose some of it?
> 
>         2.  When does a whale leave it's mother?
> 
>         3.  What is the difference betwean a porpoise and a humpback whale?
> 
>                                             Thank You,
>                                                          MargaeDear Margae, 

Thanks for your questions.
1) Yes, all baleen whales (and probably some toothed whales as well) live 
off their blubber during their winter migration. This is because where 
most baleen whales go during the winter to mate and bear calves don't 
have much food available for the adults. Some whales can lose up to a 
third of their body weight while fasting. This can result in weight loss 
of between 8-12 tons each winter. When they are feeding in the summer, 
they have to eat enough to regain the blubber loss so they can migrate 
south again the following winter.

2) Different species of whales spend varying amounts of time nursing and 
rearing their calves. Most baleen whales will wean their calves when it 
is between 6 months and a year old. Many toothed whales keep their calves 
with them for much longer, sometimes up to 5 years or so. This reflects 
the differences in the whales' social system.

3) Humpback whales are baleen whales (they don't have teeth). Porpoises 
and dolphins are toothed whales. 

For further information about the different kinds of whales try a search 
of the web. The best results come from Altavista 
(http://www.altavista.digital.com) or Lycos (http://lycos.com}.

Good luck,
Steve