Subject: WHALES

Greg Early (gearly@neaq.org)
Tue, 09 Nov 1999 09:30:05 -0500

BLAINE,

This is sort of a trick question, but the answer has to do with why whales
are sort of like gerbils.  

Yes, whales do need fresh water.  

No, they do not drink fresh water (otherwise you would find whales sneaking
up rivers for a drink).

And no.. they do not drink salt water (if whales do drink a lot of sea
water they would not be able to get rid of the extra salt they were also
taking in and that...plus some of the other minerals in salt water...would
make them sick).

So where do they get the fresh water they need ?

Whales get their fresh water from their food.  Fish (and some
invertebrates) have less salt in them than the salt water they live in.  So
a whale can get the fresh water it needs from the fish and invertebrates
that it eats.  Whales are also well adapted not to lose a great deal of
water, so they do not need a great deal to live (sort of like some desert
animals...gerbils for example, that can also get a lot of the water that
they need from their food).

ge



At 05:04 PM 10/31/99 EST, you wrote:
>DO WHALES NEED FRESH WATER TO DRINK LIKE LAND MAMMALS OR CAN THEY DRINK SALT 
>WATER?
>
>BLAINE
>
Greg Early
Edgerton Research Laboratory				
New England Aquarium
Central Wharf
Boston, Mass 02110
617-973-5246 (phone)
617-723-6207 (FAX)		
gearly@neaq.org