Subject: Humpback predators

Al Romero (romero@macalester.edu)
Tue, 02 Feb 1999 13:21:53 -0600

---------- Forwarded message ----------

At 09:48 AM 2/2/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Dr. Romero: My seven year old son is doing a brief report on
>Humpback whales. One of the questions he must answer is how Humpback
>whales protect themselves. I have reviewed some material from the
>library on humpback whales, but can find no mention of their having a
>predator, besides man. Do humpback whales face any predators, besides
>whalers? And if they do, how would they protect themselves from a
>non-human predator? Thanks, Bill Folchi.

Besides humans, humpbacks do not seem to normally suffer from predators.
There are reports of  orcas ("killer") whales harassing them and scars from
these and some sharks have been found on the skins of humpbacks.  However,
there is not definite proof that they are attacked and killed by these
animals.

Humpbacks tend to form groups of up to seven individuals with "escorts"
accompanying cow-calf pairs.  If other humpbacks try to harass the pair,
the "escorts" respond by becoming aggressive, tail lashing, lob tailing,
and bubble blowing.  There is some indication that most escorts are males.

Best wishes,


Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.
Director and Associate Professor
Environmental Studies Program
Macalester College
1600 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105-1899
(651) 696-8157
(651) 696-6443 (fax)
romero@macalester.edu