Subject: What is a Baleen Whale

Jennifer D. Philips (
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 13:52:22 -1000 (HST)

Hi Stephen!  Baleen whales are related to dolphins, but instead of teeth
for eating, they have "baleen plates" that hang down inside their mouth.
This baleen is made out of the same stuff your finger nails are made of!
Anyway, the baleen is used by whales to filter their food out of the ocean
water.  Since they eat very small krill (about 2 inches long), they need
to eat huge amounts of it, so they use the baleen to filter tons of krill
at a time.  Some whales gulp tons of water at one time, then close their
mouth, forcing the water out through the baleen, leaving the krill behind.
Then they lick the krill off their baleen with their tongue, then take
another gulp!  Some animals are called whales, but aren't really baleen
whales, like killer whales and beluga whales.  These guys have teeth, like
other dolphins.  Baleen whales are animals like humpbacks, gray whales,
blue whales, minke whales, sei whales.  Did you know the sperm whale
(which is as long as baleen whales are) is not actually a "baleen whale"?
It has teeth.

I hope this answers your question!  Please write again if you want to!

Aloha -

Jen Philips

On Mon, 4 Nov 1996 wrote:

> Hi Miss Philips,   Can you please tell me what a Baleen Whale is?  From
> Stephen Antonelli, 4th grade.


Jennifer D. Philips

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