Whale Reproduction

Whale reproduction is slow compared to other animals.

Large baleen whales are often solitary or live in small groups so it can be hard to find a mate in the vast oceans (particularly when there are not so many individuals left in some species).

Reproduction in Whales


Whales Ultramarine
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These whales therefore migrate to grounds where females give birth and males can mate with females.

The gestation period is about one year, but longer in some species.

Newborn whales start drinking milk straight away and grow very quickly.

Baleen whales reproduce very slowly - females only give birth once in 2-3 years.

Dolphin Reproduction

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Dolphins and other toothed whales in contrast often live in quite large pods.

It is easier for them to find a mate and they don't have to migrate long distances for that purpose.

Dolphins are very physical animals and touch each other often.

In courtship they rub their fins and can swim and chase each other for hours before they mate. Dolphins don't live in couples but mate randomly.

Some species mate within a group, others, like killer whales, need to find another group.

While it is very rare to see a baleen whale to give birth, many dolphins live and give birth in captivity.

The young emerges with tail first, is fed high-fat milk, and like in baleen whales, grows very quickly.

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