Whale Information

On this page is some very interesting whale information

This includes anatomy, reproduction, migration, echolocation, and  intelligence. You will also learn about what they eat and how they communicate. If you want to learn more whale information about any of these topics, just click on the links above each picture.
If you scroll to the bottom, there are links to pages about habitat, facts about whales for kids, a list of whale species, whale news,  pictures of whales and whale resources.

Whales may look a bit like large fish, but in fact, they are quite different.
Whale Anatomy

Closeup of the Teeth of a Sperm Whale in the Lower Jaw, Massachusetts
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  • Whales and dolphins are mammals, therefore their anatomy is different from fish.
  • They do have fish-like features, because they live in the same habitat. 
  • But, unlike fish, they have lungs and breathe oxygen from the air, not water.
  • They have bones for five "fingers" inside their flippers, and they also have much larger brains.

Whale Reproduction

Humpback Mother and Calf
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  • Baleen Whales are large, often solitary animals. They swim long distances and it is not easy for them to find a mate in the vast oceans. 
  • They, therefore, migrate to certain places in warmer waters every year to mate or give birth to calves.The calves take quite a while before they are independent so females only give birth once every 2-3 years.

Whale Migration

Humpback Whales Five Migrating in Shallow Water Cetaceans are some of the most mobile creatures in the world, only surpassed by some birds and fish. Their high metabolic rate and their carniverous diet require them to cover large distances in pursuit of food; usually to cooler waters, then back to warmer waters again to breed and calve. The three artic whales, however, tend to stay in the north, near the ice. They synchronize their movements with the formation and movement of the ice.

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Whale Echolocation

A Pod of Killer Whales, Orcinus Orca, Hunt and Swim in Calm Waters
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  • Echolocation works like a sonar. The toothed whales produce sounds, which travel in the water, and they wait for echos to come back. The character and timing of the returning echos tell the whales about their surroundings. It is mostly used to find prey and predators, but it is also used for navigation (finding familiar landmarks). However, it is not used as a navigation means during long-distance migration trips by large baleen whales. Echolocation is (as far as we know), is only used by toothed whales. Baleen whales are believed to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation.

Whale Intelligence
Dolphin and a puppy
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  • It is really hard to measure intelligence when human and whale intelligence are not really comparable. While whales cannot count numbers or do math, we'd be hopeless if we had to create a whale song that meant something. That said, both whales and dolphins do have some of the largest brains of all animals. They have very complicated whale songs and complex social systems which shows a fair amount of intelligence-probably more than we realize.

What Do Whales Eat?

Imperial Shrimp on Sea Cucumber, Malaysia
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Large baleen whales feed by filtering the food out of the water and they eat small organisms such as krill. Most of them cruise-feed - they swim slowly through krill swarms with their mouth open, the krill gets into their mouth, and they push the water out again, while krill gets caught behind the baleen and the whale will swallow it. Humpback Whales do it a bit differently - they don't cruise but rise up through shoals of small fish and scoop up water. Grey whales often feed on the ocean bottom, where they filter shrimps and shellfish out of the mud. Check out the Whale Food Chain.

How Do Whales Communicate?

A Group of Humpback Whales Bubble Net Hunting and Feeding Together
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Whales, like all other animals, communicate about things like where food is, what they want and how they feel. While sight and touch are also used, hearing is an important sense under the water surface, and whales communicate most often by using sound. Whale sounds are composed of many different clicks, whistles, chirps, thumps and low moaning sounds, some up to 30 seconds long, but many much shorter. Although it is not really like a human language, it is a complex communication system where sounds are modulated in frequency and tone to mean different things.
Some whales also have very complicated whale songs.

More Whale Information:

Whale Habitat

Facts About Whales for Kids

List of Whale Species

Current Whale News

Pictures of Whales

Whale Resources

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