Subject: toothed whales, what kind, life, whaling, etc.

Dagmar Fertl (
Wed, 4 Feb 1998 09:30:28 -0500

     Dear Sarah,
     I'll do the best I can to point you to some sources to answer your 
     many questions.  Your questions are quite broad, making them difficult 
     to answer in a few sentences.  I also can't tell how old you are, so 
     maybe some of the information that I'm going to suggest you look at, 
     you might not be able to completely understand.
     1.  What kinds of toothed whales.
     There are roughly 68 species of toothed whales.  To describe them 
     would take forever.  I can tell you that there are sperm whales, pygy 
     and dwarf sperm whales, narwhals and belugas, beaked whales, 
     mesoplodonts, oceanic dolphins, river dolphins, and porpoises.  I 
     suggest that you look back thru the links that WhaleNet provides and 
     see if you can find the information you are looking for that way.  I 
     would also strongly suggest looking at the following book:
     Leatherwood, S. and R.R. Reeves.  1983.  The Sierra Club Handbook of 
     Whales and Dolphins.  Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.  
     That book has lots and lots of information that you will be looking 
     2.  What is the life of a whale like. 
     This certainly is a difficult question to briefly answer, especially 
     since for many types of whales that are located in very deepwater, we 
     cannot know for sure how they're spending their time (particularly 
     since so much of that time is out of our view, underwater).  A whale 
     has to find food, be able to detect and get away from predators, take 
     care of its baby (if it's a female), etc.  If you have a more specific 
     question, I welcome you to send that to WhaleNet, and I can do a 
     better job of giving you the answer you're looking for.  The answer 
     will depend on what type of whale (baleen vs toothed, dolphin vs 
     porpoise, bottlenose dolphin vs Atlantic spotted dolphin, etc.), where 
     it lives (close to shore vs open ocean, etc.), what age the whale is 
     (baby vs 'teenager' vs adult), and so on.
     3.  What are the whaling days like.  
     Do you mean for the whale or for the people? (just kidding).  There 
     are many, many books about the whaling days of the past.  Whaling also 
     occurs these days in some countries.  The following website can 
     probably provide you links to what you're looking for (I bet that 
     WhaleNet probably has some good links for whaling info, as well):
     4.  Can baby whales survive...
     It will probably depend on how healthy that baby is.  For example, 
     there is a gray whale right now at Sea World in San Diego that is 
     being taken care of by people and will released when the gray whales 
     make their migration, so that she can join them.  Another gray whale 
     calf was sucessfully taken care of by Sea World a while back, and was 
     seen in the wild with other gray whales after her release.  Some 
     babies, however, are very sick when they are born or are found on a 
     beach, and people aren't always able to take care of them.  The same 
     sometimes happens for the baby's mom. 
     5.  Why do whales travel in groups...
     I answered a similar question to this earlier today, so you might want 
     to look at that answer as well in the archives.  Not all whales live 
     in groups.  It is the toothed whales that are more social than the 
     baleen whales.  There are a number of reasons that whales might travel 
     or hang out together, but the big reasons are probably that is easier 
     to find food and capture food if there are more of you looking for the 
     food and working together to get it; protection against predators 
     (it's not so easy to pick one animal out of a group versus if it is a 
     solitary animal); and protection of babies - for example, adult sperm 
     whales dive very deep for long periods of time.  If the babies hang 
     out together, they're not alone (and not such easy prey for a 
     predator) and an adult could stay with the babies to watch over them.  
     Then the moms could possibly take turns 'babysitting' the calves.
     Hope all of this helps for your project.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: toothed whales
Author:  calkfam <> at ~smtp
Date:    2/3/98 8:45 PM

What are the kinds of toothed whales? Describe them, please.
What is the life of a whale like?
What are the whaling days like?
Can baby whales survive in captivity with the help of people instead of 
their parents?
Why do whales live and travel in pods?
        Thank You very much. This will truly help me in my Language reasrch
                                                    Sarah L. Calk