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15 Weird Facts About Whales (Plus 4 Amazing Videos)

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15 Weird Facts About Whales (Plus 4 Amazing Videos)

Whales are so obviously different from us, yet surprisingly similar in so many ways. They are extremely intelligent and social beings that share our lifespan and often our close-knit family structures. They sing, they play, they nurture, they bond and they cooperate. However, unlike modern humans who appeared on the scene less than 200,000 years ago, modern cetaceans are an ancient clan stretching back tens of millions of years. These cetaceans first appeared in the fossil record about 50 million years ago (in modern form about 35 million years ago) and have been populating our oceans with a magical grace ever since. Below are 15 little-known and yet very interesting facts about the dozens of whale species that share our world. Enjoy!

 

  • The closest living relative to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) are hippos.

 

  • Sperm whales have bizarre sleep habits.Whole pods have been observed sleeping with their bodies completely vertical to the ocean floor with their heads bobbing at the surface. It is believed (but not entirely understood) that sperm whales dive to the ocean floor to nap, but during this nap time they slowly rise to the surface head-first. These naps appear to last no more than 12 minutes and oddly only take place between 6pm and midnight.

 

  • The tusk or horn of the male narwhal is actually an oversized canine tooth. The tooth pierces the left lip, growing throughout life up to 10 feet long. This fancy oversized tooth is jam-packed with nerve endings and grows in a left-handed helix spiral. Oddly, about 15% of female narwhals also have tusks. Some of the first narwhal teeth (or tusks) to reach Europe were touted as being the horns of the mythical unicorn.

 

  • The blue whale has the largest penis in the world at about 8 feet long, but not the largest testes. That award goes to the Southern Right whale. One pair of Southern Right whale gonads weigh about one ton.

 

  • The head and lower jaw of humpback whales are covered with knobs called tubercles, which are actually hair follicles.

 

 

  • The largest animal to ever grace our planet, living or extinct, is the blue whale. Blue whales have tipped the scales at 140 tons and reached 100 feet. The blue whale tongue alone can weigh as much as an elephant.

 

  • Not surprisingly, the blue whale also boasts the largest heart in the world, which is about the size of a VW Beetle and weighs up to 1000 pounds. The aorta attached to this super-sized heart is is big enough for a human child to crawl through.

 

  • Sperm whales are super-divers. They love squid, so to dine on their favorite delicacy they must dive deep and hang there for a while while hunting. Adults can dive to depths of 2,000 meters and stay submerged for almost two hours.

 

  • Fin whales pee the equivalent of about 3 bathtubs per day.

 

  • Orca whales are not whales, but actually dolphins. They are found in every ocean from the icy Arctic to the warm waters of the tropics and are considered one of the smartest animals on our planet.

 

  • Blue whales are pregnant for nearly two years.

 

  • A newborn blue whale calf weighs about as much as 100 men and is about 7.5 meters long.  This huge baby drinks enough fat-rich milk to fill a bathtub every day. This milk is 40-50% fat and has the consistency of cottage cheese. With all of this nursing, baby blue whales gain 3.7 kilograms an hour, until about 8 months-old. By then, they typically weigh 22.5 tons!

 

  • Most whales give birth surrounded by midwives. The midwives help the newborn stay at the surface for breathing, while the mother recovers.

 

  • Gray whales migrate astonishingly long distances between their winter calving lagoons in Mexico and their summer feasting grounds in the Arctic – about 10,000-12,400 miles round-trip every year.

 

 

  • Blue whales can boast of being the loudest creatures on Earth. At 188 decibels, their loudest vocalizations can be heard hundreds of miles away and is louder than a jet, which peaks at only 140 decibels. Human ears cringe at sounds over over 120-130 decibels.

For more interesting facts about whales check-out the websites, LISTVERSE and WHALE WORLD.

Next Page – 4 Amazing Whale Videos

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.

173 comments

+ add your own
4:24AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Thanks for the information and videos. I learned a lot today!

7:18PM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

I love whales, I think humpback whales are my favourite.

8:39AM PDT on May 26, 2014

Thanks, very good.

2:59AM PDT on May 22, 2014

Magic Videos and picture. I'm just very impressed!

2:00AM PDT on May 20, 2014

Love this article, really good pictures and information! I saw this video which you might like, it's got a lot of information on different types of whales which i thought was good.. http://youtu.be/DgEblf5rZEo Hope you enjoy too!

7:57AM PDT on May 8, 2014

Great article ,Thanks for sharing !! :)

2:00PM PDT on May 5, 2014

WOW! The videos were absolutely amazing. I watched the last one first and the first one last....the first one had me crying. What an awesome experience that had to be and to save such an amazing animal....really splendid.

1:44PM PDT on May 4, 2014

The tongue can weigh as much as an elephant? That's a mouthful.

1:44PM PDT on May 4, 2014

@.@.

1:20PM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

Pregnant for two years, ouchie.

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